REACHING the McDonald’s Suffolk Primary Cup Final is an ‘incredible milestone’ for Coddenham Athletic.
That’s the view of Aaron Pryke, manager of the Macron SIL Division Five side who face Gipping Gnats in the showpiece final at Colchester United FC on Thursday, kick-off 7.30pm.
Coddenham, who only re-formed last year, finished third in the league and have already won the Divisional Cup thanks to a 3-2 victory over Sporting 87 ‘A’ in last month’s final.
Pryke said: “We re-started Coddenham to bring the joy factor back to the game for a lot of our players. If you would have told us at the start of pre-season that we would end the year in two cup finals and the opportunity of playing in such an amazing stadium, we would have jumped at the chance.
“This is an incredible milestone for the club, and an opportunity for our lads to hopefully put Coddenham back on the map and bring home some more silverware to cap off a great year.”
Coddenham almost fell at the first hurdle, progressing 3-0 in a penalty shoot-out following a 2-2 draw at Spexhall Huntsman & Hounds.
Pryke said: “There is definitely a feeling that this could be our year. We have grown into this competition more and more each round, and are confident that the final will be the culmination of that.”
After scoring 18 goals in five ties to reach the final, Pryke admitted: “Being able to score has gotten us out of some tricky spots in this cup run, when maybe we have not been at our best.
“As the competition has progressed, we have made an effort to continue scoring but also making sure we are more solid at the other end. At the ‘business end’ of any competition, the quality of the opposition increases, therefore it would be foolish to simply plan to ‘outscore’ a team.
Pryke, who feels their Division Four opponents will enter the final as favourites, said: “Gipping Gnats are a top side, and definitely our hardest challenge to date.
“We have watched them on multiple occasions this year and have been impressed with their style of football.
“We love the underdog title and I think that has really helped the lads to manage emotions.
“We have managed to overcome a lot of higher league opposition, and despite still being seen as underdogs we feel that we have earnt the respect of each team we have played.”