NEEDHAM Market manager Kevin Horlock is targeting a fourth Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup success for the club.
The holders face Kirkley & Pakefield in the semi-final on Tuesday at Leiston FC, kick-off 7.45pm, for the right to meet Leiston in the final.
Needham defeated Leiston 5-4 on penalties following a goalless draw in the 2007-08 final, before losing in each of the following three finals – 3-2 to Lowestoft Town, 4-1 to Ipswich Town and then 2-0 to Bury Town.
They finally got their hands on the trophy again in the 2016-17 season, defeating Lowestoft Town 3-2 in the final at Colchester United FC, the venue for this season’s final on Thursday, April 21st.
Of their last-four opponents, who play two leagues below Needham, Horlock said: “I remember playing against Kirkley & Pakefield many moons ago when I first joined Needham Market.
“They were always a decent football club and we had some good games against them.”
Horlock said Needham would not be under-estimating their opponents, who had a terrific 4-0 victory away to Felixstowe & Walton United in the last round and are unbeaten in their last eight games.
“They had a convincing win against Felixstowe & Walton United in the quarter-finals.
“It was one of those results that made you sit up and take notice, especially as Felixstowe had been doing well and were sitting just outside the play-offs.
“We will not under-estimate them and we will be focussed on the task in hand,” said Horlock.
The ex-Ipswich Town player underlined his desire to retain the cup, which Needham won for the third time thanks to a 4-3 aggregate victory over Lowestoft Town in the 2019-20 campaign, before last season’s competition was cancelled due to Covid.
Horlock continued: “The play-offs are now a million miles away for us and although the FA Trophy run was an unbelievable experience and the lads were magnificent to reach that stage, it has had an effect on us.
“Our league form has slumped since then, but this is a competition we definitely want to win.
“The Suffolk Premier Cup is an important competition for us – we are the holders but we have only won it three times before in our history and we now want to make it four wins.”
Needham will be without Patrick Brothers and Kyle Hammond who are in Cyprus for Brothers’ wedding while Callum Page is cup-tied after appearing for Ipswich Town earlier in the competition. Patrick Brothers (second right) is pictured above in action during Needham Market's 3-0 loss to Stockport County in last month's Buildbase FA Trophy Quarter-Final at Bloomfields. Second left is Callum Page.
Archie Exworth, who made his first-team debut in the 1-0 loss in the Pitching In Southern League Premier Central Division at Bromsgrove Sporting on Saturday, is likely to be involved along with fellow Academy products Seth Chambers and Louie Kudiabar.