THE CNet Training Suffolk Senior Cup has been a ‘breath of fresh air’ for Framlingham Town this season.
Since the club returned to playing following lockdown, Framlingham have won twice to reach the last four of the competition.
They will be bidding for a place in the final – their only previous appearance ended in a 3-0 loss to Grundisburgh in the 1995-96 season – when they face Lakenheath at AFC Sudbury on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.
Manager Liam Abraham (pictured above) said: “It is a really big day for the club. It has been a difficult two years for football, and I must admit, at first, I was dubious about coming back post-lockdown for a couple of games.
“However, it has been a breath of fresh air and it has proved to be exactly what was needed. The lads have been great, the training sessions have been good and I don’t think we would have had that without the Suffolk Senior Cup to play in.
“The competition has given the club a lot of excitement ahead of next season.
“It is hard not to get carried away and look too far ahead when you are 90 minutes away from a possible cup final appearance, but it is going to be a very difficult fixture for us.”
Abraham is under no illusions as to the task facing his side, even though both teams were playing in Division One North of the Thurlow Nunn League before the 2020-21 season was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.
It was confirmed on Tuesday that Lakenheath will be promoted to the Premier Division next season, and it remains to be seen if this will concentrate their minds on winning the cup or see them take their eyes off the prize.
Abraham continued: “It could go one of two ways, depending on how they approach it, but they are a very good side and deserve their promotion.
“When we have played them in the last couple of seasons they have definitely been one of the strongest sides we have faced.
“They have a really good set up and they are very professional in what they do.”
One factor that Framlingham will aim to use to their advantage is that they played on the 3G pitch against AFC Sudbury just a fortnight ago when they came from 2-0 with 22 minutes remaining to win 3-2.
“We played at Sudbury in the quarter-final just two weeks ago, so we know what to expect with the 3G pitch. It takes a bit of getting used to as it is different to playing on grass, so hopefully that will give us a head start,” added Abraham.
Framlingham will have a full-strength squad to choose from with the exception of centre half Cameron Panich, who had played in every round so far.
Panich, who played in the first team at Woodbridge Town as a 16-year-old, only returned to playing at Thurlow Nunn League level this season after three years out with injury. He is currently recovering from a recent operation.
Promotion changes mindset of players
Wanderers will not take tie lightly
Bildeston have ‘nothing to lose’
New Croft is to host final double-header
Tickets now on sale for cup semi-finals
Six semi-final ties to be held on same day