LEISTON joint manager Darren Eadie admitted his side don’t deserve to be in the Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup Final.
But after being handed a second chance due to an administrative error, Eadie said his players will want to win it as much as their opponents Needham Market.
The two teams meet in the showpiece occasion – the first of this season’s eleven Suffolk FA County Cup Finals – at Colchester United FC on Thursday evening, kick-off 7.30pm.
Leiston lost 3-0 to Stowmarket Town in their semi-final at Needham Market FC, but their opponents subsequently withdrew from the competition after fielding two ineligible players.
Eadie said: “Stowmarket were the better team on the night and I feel for their players because they deserve to be in the final, but there are rules to abide by and I’s to be dotted and t’s to be crossed and if they aren’t done properly then problems arise.
“I am not entirely sure how we feel about it as we don’t warrant being in the final as our performance on the night didn’t deserve it, but we have been given a second chance, so it is up to us to take it.”
Since their semi-final tie Leiston have shared six goals with Rushden & Diamonds, before winning their last three Pitching In Southern League Premier Central league games all by a 1-0 scoreline.
Eadie said: “Our league form has been good since the semi-final and we have won three in a row. Sometimes players have one eye on a cup final, but we made it clear that we didn’t want the players taking their foot off the gas.
“The league is our bread and butter and since we came in we have gone from being bottom to trying to get into the play-offs, which is a massive upwards curve in a short space of time.
“We wanted to finish as the highest-placed Suffolk club this season, especially after the good start we had, but we knew we were not the finished article, so we didn’t expect to achieve what we have in our first full season.
“Now we have the chance to win some silverware. I didn’t win much in my career or play in many cup finals, so it is a great opportunity for the players.
“With our Reserves also reaching the Senior Cup Final it is a massive achievement for the club, bearing in mind where the club was 18 months ago.”
While Leiston are eighth in the table, Needham are ten points behind in 12th place following their 1-0 win at Lowestoft Town on Monday.
Eadie added: “We know it is going to be exceptionally difficult game. Needham Market had a fantastic run in the FA Trophy, so they know how to play cup football.
“We beat them at home in the league and they beat us at theirs, but we will go into it wanting to win it as much as I am sure they will.”
Eadie said Leiston had a ‘couple of niggles’ but should have a full-strength squad to choose from.
Leiston's Siji Odelusi is pictured above (blue shirt, far left) sending a header wide of the near post following a corner in the semi-final versus Stowmarket Town at Needham Market FC. Photograph: Paul Voller