‘Right mindset’ will be needed for final
NEEDHAM Market can’t afford to have an off day in the Endeavour Automotive Suffolk Premier Cup Final.
So says manager Kevin Horlock whose Southern League Premier Central side face Isthmian North Stowmarket Town in Friday’s final at Bury Town FC, kick-off 7.45pm.
The Marketmen will be aiming to join a select band of clubs to win the competition three years in a row.
The feat has previously been achieved four times by Bury Town (1959-62) and Sudbury Town (1987-90) and three times by AFC Sudbury (2002-04), Bury Town (1964-66), Ipswich Town (1968-70) and Sudbury Town (1981-83).
Horlock said: “I didn’t realise that. We have so far won it a total of four times, so to win it three times back-to-back would be massive for our football club and for our squad of players, a lot of whom will have been involved in all three finals.
“It is a competition we hold in high regard and always want to try and win.”
Horlock knows the size of the task that awaits against a Stowmarket Town side whose management team includes Richard Wilkins and Nathan Munson, who were both previously at Needham Market, while winger Harvey Sayer was on loan there last season.
“Looking from the outside they have players who could play at our level. They have good players and a good management team, and we can’t afford to have an off day.
“I have seen a few of their games this season and they are a good team who only just missed out on the play-offs. There is talk of some of their players leaving before next season, but whether it is your first or last game you want to win trophies.
“They are our neighbours from up the road which will add extra spice to the occasion, and we know we have got to be on it and have the right mindset if we are to retain the cup,” he said.
Ross Crane, who was not expected to recover from a hamstring injury, joined in training on Tuesday night and Horlock is waiting to see if he has a reaction before he can be named in the squad.
However, both captain Keiran Morphew and Kyle Hammond should be fit.
“Hopefully we will be closer to full-strength than we were four our last two league games when we were down to the bare bones and had players playing out of position,” added Horlock.
Needham Market’s Jacob Lay (red shirt) is pictured above battling for the ball with Leiston’s Ollie Saunders (blue shirt) during their 1-0 semi-final victory at Stowmarket Town FC. Photograph: Ben Pooley