“IT SHOULD be a good game for the neutral.”
That’s the verdict of Leiston Reserves’ manager Ryan Honeyman ahead of his side’s CNet Training Suffolk Senior Cup Semi-Final versus East Bergholt United on Saturday.
Leiston, who sit ninth in Thurlow Nunn League First Division North, face opponents who occupy third place in the Macron SIL at Woodbridge Town FC, kick-off 2.30pm.
Several of Honeyman’s squad were in the Leiston’s side that reached the Suffolk Boys’ Under-18 Midweek Cup Final last season for the first time only to lose 7-1 to AFC Sudbury.
Honeyman, who was part of the coaching set up at Sheringham, took over as Leiston Reserves’ manager before the start of last season, and has guided his young side to the last four of this season’s competition.
He said: “Playing in the Thurlow Nunn League North Division week in, week out has given our players a good grounding.
“No doubt they will be nervous but that can be a good thing if you overcome your nerves and use them to your advantage.”
Leiston Reserves looked as though they were going out of the competition away to Bildeston Rangers, last season’s runners-up, in the second round.
“Playing at Bildeston which was a real test for our young lads. We were losing 2-0 at one stage and equalised in the last minute to make it 4-4 before winning the penalty shoot-out.
“My ethos is that it is about more than just footballing ability, so we have to be resilient to stay in the game which is what we did at Bildeston,” said Honeyman.
He admitted he did not know much about Saturday’s opponents and attempts to watch them in action have been thwarted by the recent wet weather.
Honeyman said: “We didn’t know much about them before we got to the quarter-finals, but like all managers you then look to see who you may play.
“We have been following their results and the fact they are third in the SIL tells us straightaway they are going to be a team with a winning mentality.
“Jamie McGrath is a player we will need to watch as he has scored a lot of goals for them.
“We like to play attacking football and looking at the amount of goals they score so do they, so it should be a good game for the neutral.”
Some of the Leiston Reserves players were involved with the first-team squad for Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Tamworth, but Honeyman is hoping to have a full squad available.
The second semi-final involving Ipswich Wanderers and old Newton United is taking place at Stowmarket Town FC on Tuesday, kick-off 7.45pm.
Action is pictured above from last season’s the Suffolk Boys’ Under-18 Midweek Cup Semi-Final between Leiston (blue shirts) and Felixstowe & Walton United (red & white striped shirts) at Framlingham Town FC. Several of the Leiston players in that side will be involved with their Reserve team in Saturday’s Suffolk Senior Cup Semi-Final tie.
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