Boardley eager for Needham cup test
FELIXSTOWE & Walton United manager Stuart Boardley is eager for his side to test themselves against holders Needham Market in the Endeavour Automotive Suffolk Premier Cup.
The Seasiders travel to Bloomfields in the second round on Tuesday evening to face Kevin Horlock’s side, who retained the cup thanks to a penalty shoot-out victory over Leiston in last season’s final.
Asked if his side couldn’t have been dealt a tougher tie than away to the holders who play a step higher, Boardley (pictured above, centre, and flanked by assistant manager Andy Crump, left, and striker George Clarke, right) replied: “Yes and no.
“Of course, the likes of Needham and Leiston will be favourites for it, but I think the Premier Cup is an opportunity for us to get away from the league and the pressure of ‘must-win’ games and we take it as a free hit.
“Needham are not on a great run of form, whereas we are and I think things like that can make a leveller out of a game, so we are really looking forward to it.
“If I could pick a tie to have it would have been Needham because I want to play against the best teams at this level and really test ourselves and see where we are at as a group.”
It will be a case of Friends Reunited at the Riverside Stadium as Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side Mildenhall Town entertain AFC Sudbury from Isthmian North.
Ricky Cornish, who is now part of the AFC Sudbury management team, was in charge of Mildenhall Town when they won 1-0 at AFC Sudbury in last season’s second round.
Rick Andrew takes his AFC Sudbury side to Mildenhall, now managed by Phil Weavers, who was Andrews’ captain when he was in charge of Stowmarket Town.
Andrews, who is well aware of AFC Sudbury’s poor record in the competition in recent seasons, said: “It’s a chance for the club to go further than they have done for a number of years.
“We will go there and it gives us an opportunity to use some players that haven’t had a lot of minutes due to how well the team is doing. It is always a squad game so we will look to go there and try to get the win and see if we can take the club to the next round.”
As for the possibility of winning the competition for the first time since the 2003-04 season, Andrews said: “It would be nice. There are some big teams in there with Leiston, Needham and a few others would have a say in that, but we want to compete on all levels.
“When I joined the club two years ago I made it crystal clear that I wanted to be competitive and challenging and we say to the players they need to embrace being the target of other teams and they need to embrace big games, because if we are involved in big games that means we are doing something right.
“Mildenhall are having a half-decent season. I know Phil Weavers extremely well as he was my captain for me at Stowmarket and I am sure he will be looking forward to the challenge.”
There are three other ties where Step 5 sides will be bidding to spring a surprise against Step 4 opposition – Haverhill Rovers host Lowestoft Town, Kirkley & Pakefield take on Bury Town and Lakenheath are at Stowmarket Town.
An Ipswich Town XI travel to last season’s losing finalists Leiston, while there are two all Step 5 derbies – Hadleigh United entertain Long Melford and Ipswich Wanderers welcome Woodbridge Town.
The draw for the quarter-finals will be announced on BBC Radio Suffolk during their Saturday afternoon sports programme.
Endeavour Automotive Suffolk Premier Cup Second Round: Hadleigh Utd v Long Melford, Haverhill Rovers v Lowestoft Town, Ipswich Town XI v Leiston at Leiston FC, Ipswich Wanderers v Woodbridge Town, Kirkley & Pakefield v Bury Town, Mildenhall Town v AFC Sudbury, Needham Market v Felixstowe & Walton Utd, Stowmarket Town v Lakenheath.