IPSWICH Wanderers’ joint manager James Buckle is relishing his side’s meeting with Needham Market.
The two sides will line-up against each other in the Suffolk Champions Charity Cup at Bloomfields, Needham Market’s home ground, on Tuesday, kick-off 7.30pm.
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The match pits Needham Market, winners of the Turners Hyundai Suffolk Premier Cup, against Ipswich Wanderers, who are the holders of the CNet Training Suffolk Senior Cup.
Buckle and fellow joint manager Mark Goldfinch guided their side to a league and cup double last season, winning Division One South of the Thurlow Nunn League to win promotion to the Premier Division.
That means they will be playing Step 5 football when the league season gets under way at the end of this month, which is two levels lower than their opponents.
But Buckle is looking forward to the challenge of testing themselves against the Marketmen.
He said: “They have some very food players and very talented young lads in their Academy and Reserves.
“It should be a good game and one we are looking forward to coming after playing against King’s Lynn and then Felixstowe & Walton United.
“There are the types of games, whether you are a player or a manager, that you want to be involved in and test yourself against the best.
“The King’s Lynn manager, Stuart Boardley at Felixstowe and Kevin Horlock at Needham, who played professionally at Ipswich Town, Manchester City and West Ham United, are all managers that we can learn from about the way they approach the game.”
Both teams have chosen a charity to support, with all tickets sales going direct to the charity of their choice
Ipswich Wanderers are raising money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association. It was Motor Neurone Disease which last year claimed the life of local footballer Jerry Thorpe, whose clubs included Wanderers.
Not only did Wanderers donate the £100 they received from the sponsors for winning the Thurlow Nunn League Team Performance award for December/January, the club also hosted a charity match last month.
Buckle’s dad, ex-Wanderers manager Steve Buckle along with Steven Smith, Alan Dilloway and others organised the match at the club’s Humber Doucy Lane ground.
Buckle said: “My dad was good friends with Jerry and used to play against him. Ironically, they were born on the very same day at Ipswich Hospital, although they didn’t know that until much later in life!
“It will be nice to raise funds for such a good charity. A lot of people don’t know too much about Motor Neurone Disease.
“I didn’t know myself until I read up about it after Jerry was diagnosed, and it is something people need to be made aware of.”
Needham Market, meanwhile, are raising funds for the Suffolk Accident Rescue Service, after a SARS volunteer responder attended a serious incident involving Needham Market midfielder Byron Lawrence during a match at Bloomfields last season.
Needham Market (red shirts) are pictured above on the attack against Lakenheath (green shirts) in last season' Suffolk Champions Charity Cup match. Needham won the match at Bury Town FC 3-1. Photograph: Paul Voller