IPSWICH Wanderers need to keep their minds off the beach ahead of the CNet Training Suffolk Senior Cup Final.
The term that players’ minds are ‘on the beach’ is often associated with teams who are under-performing at the end of the season.
A group of 19 players and management will be flying from Stansted airport at 6am on Saturday – just hours after Wanderers face Leiston Reserves in this season’s final at Colchester United FC
James Buckle, who is joint manager with Mark Goldfinch, said they had talked about a trip at the start of the season, but didn’t book it up until after they had won the Thurlow Nunn League Division One South title three weeks ago.
Although Wanderers will be playing in their second final in three seasons, Buckle said: “I don’t think that gives us an advantage at all.
“When it comes to cup games it is all about what happens on the day, so it will depend upon which Ipswich Wanderers team turns up – one that wants to win the trophy or one that can’t wait to catch a flight to Tenerife on Saturday morning!
“We need to be focussed as we still have a job to do against a very young but good Leiston Reserves side, who will not just turn up and roll over.
“They had a game against an AFC Sudbury XI last Saturday, so have been keeping their match fitness up, whereas we have been training just once a week.
“The gap between our last league game and the final has not been ideal as we have lost that momentum, but it has enabled us to get players back fit after injury.”
Several members of the Wanderers’ squad have appeared in the Senior Cup Final before and some have also played in the Premier Cup Final.
Buckle, who works as a plasterer and will be helping refurbish the clubhouse at Humber Doucy Lane ahead of next season, continued: “The Senior Cup is the biggest cup there is in Suffolk.
“No disrespect to the Premier Cup or any of the other competitions, but because of its history and the number of teams who enter it each year the Senior Cup is the best one to win.
“At the start of the season people may have predicted that we would get to the final, but you still have to go turn up on the day and win the games to get there.
“It is now about ensuring the players are fully focussed when we turn up on Friday and have the right attitude and mentality. We can look forward to Tenerife afterwards!”
Wanderers have a full-strength squad to choose from with the exception of long-term injury victim Paulo Coelho and 16-year-old Jesse Okpolokpo, who ironically played for Leiston Reserves in this season’s competition before joining Wanderers.
The Ipswich Wanderers’ management team are pictured above with the Thurlow Nunn League Division One South trophy. Left to right: Paul Cudworth, James Buckle, Mark Goldfinch, Mick Lowe, Nick Albins and Tony Kinsella. Photograph: Paul Voller