Premier Cup QF Felix Wal Utd Kirkley March 2022 3

In-form Kirkley aim to upset cup holders

KIRKLEY & Pakefield enter Tuesday’s Suffolk Premier Cup Semi-Final in a rich vein of form.

KIRKLEY & Pakefield enter Tuesday’s Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup Semi-Final in a rich vein of form.

The Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side face holders Needham Market, who play two steps higher in Pitching In Southern League Premier Central, in the last four at Leiston FC, kick-off 7.45pm.

The Royals had won seven matches in a row before George Barber’s goal earned a 1-1 draw on Saturday at Long Melford.

They are undefeated since February 26th and have lost just two of their last 18 matches across all competitions.

Player-manager Jack Herbert, whose side won 4-0 at Felixstowe & Walton United in the quarter-finals, said: “Our record is impressive at any level.

“At the start of the season we were drawing a lot of games and in the second half of the season we have started to get what we deserved.

“We have had a settled spine to the team – if you are having to change due to injuries, work commitments or Covid it is difficult to get a settled team.

“But with a settled team we have shown we can compete with the best teams in our league, but Tuesday’s tie is going to be a different test for us.”

Herbert admitted it was disappointing not to extend their winning sequence at relegation-threatened Long Melford on Saturday.

He said: “It would have been nice to carry that momentum into the semi-final and I mentioned it in my team talk before Saturday’s game.

“Tuesday’s match is going to be tough, so we wanted to continue the run as it breeds confidence through the team and also the club and everyone is right behind you.”

Herbert said he had not been able to get to see their opponents play due to playing and managing.

He continued: “I have seen some clips of them playing and have spoken to Andy Reynolds (Lowestoft Town assistant manager) who is a good friend of mine and he offered some advice after they recently played Needham.”

Midfielder Ben George, who is on holiday, is unavailable along with long-term absentees Lewis Flower, Lewis Hammond and Kieren Underdown.

“Ben and Miguel Lopez have formed a really good partnership in the centre of midfield and it is going to be a big ask for whoever steps in, but it provides a chance for someone else.

“We have never had so much competition for places as we have now in my time with the club, with quality throughout the squad of 18-20 players, and it is difficult to tell players who I have played with that they are not in the 16 on a match day,” added Herbert.

Jack Herbert (right) pictured above in action with Felixstowe & Walton United's Ollie Canfer (left) during the Royals 4-0 win in this season's quarter-final. Photograph: Thomas Bradford

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