A FOURTH Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup success would be ‘massive’ for Needham Market.
Manager Kevin Horlock, whose side face Leiston in the final at the Jobserve Community Stadium on Thursday night, has made no secret of his desire to retain the trophy.
Needham Market lifted the cup in the 2019-20 season after defeating Lowestoft Town 4-3 on aggregate over two legs, before last season’s competition was cancelled due to Covid.
Horlock said: “We have won it three times in the club’s history, so to be in the final again is nice, but once you are here you want to win it, and to win it again would be massive for the club.
“We backed ourselves to get to the final and put pressure on ourselves to do so, but the job is not done as we have a really tough game on our hands against Leiston.
“Players in both squads have played for both teams in the past and there is a healthy rivalry which should lend itself to a good game of football and a spectacle for the those who are watching.”
The final provides both clubs, who play in Pitching In Southern League Premier Central, with the opportunity to win some silverware this season.
A slow start to the campaign left the Marketmen, who reached the quarter-finals of the Buildbase FA Trophy, playing catch-up in the league and they are destined for a mid-table finish.
Horlock said: “Both clubs had aspirations of getting into the play-offs and both have fallen short this season, so whether we finish eighth, ninth or tenth in the league is irrelevant and won’t have any bearing on the game.
“It will be about who turns up on the night, who is brave in front of goal and who takes their chances.
“It has been frustrating in the league at times this season, but we now have a chance to win some silverware and put a trophy in the cabinet.”
Needham, however, have availability problems going into the final. Patrick Brothers, who has just got married, is still on honeymoon and Callum Page is cup-tied, after appearing for Ipswich Town in this season’s competition.
Luke Ingram (pictured above) and Tom Fitzgerald are both doubtful with knee and ankle injuries respectviely, while ex-Leiston midfielder Byron Lawrence continues to recuperate from his long-term injury.
Horlock said: “Academy players like Seth Chambers and Taylor Clark have done well for us this season, and there will be opportunities for other boys to step up.”