No hiding place for AFC Sudbury players
AFC Sudbury manager Danny Laws said there will be no hiding place for his players in the Veo Suffolk Under-18 Midweek Cup Final.
The Yellows will be bidding to win the competition for a seventh successive season when they meet Needham Market in the final at Colchester United FC on Wednesday, kick-off 7.30pm.
However, Laws said that their previous successes did not necessarily give AFC Sudbury an advantage but did increase the expectation on his players.
Laws said: “Every year it is a different group of boys. We have won the competition the last six times it has been played, but there is no real advantage so far as the players are concerned, although the staff have been there so know what to expect.
“There is no shadow of doubt that every year we have won it the expectation is to then go and win it again the following year. There is no hiding place for the players as they want to continue that legacy.”
Only the Covid interrupted season of 2019-20 has prevented AFC Sudbury from lifting the trophy every season since their first success in the 2015-16 competition.
“The year the competition was canned due to Covid, and rightly so, we had Liam Bennett, who is now at Cambridge United, Lewis O’Malley was our skipper, we had Ross Crane and Freddie King as well as Matt Wooldridge and Harry Critchley, who have both just won promotion with Hashtag United.
“That was a very strong squad who never got the chance to play in this final, which is the end-of-season finale – for some of the players involved on Wednesday it will be their last ever game in a Sudbury shirt.
“For example, Liam Pearce, who has been with us since he was an under-13, is off to America as he has got a two-year full-time scholarship with Rocky Mountain College in Montana.”
Pearce skippered the AFC Sudbury Reserve side that lost 2-0 to Framlingham Town in Friday’s CNet Training Suffolk Senior Cup Final at the same venue.
Laws continued: “There is the opportunity to lift a trophy which should be a big motivating factor in itself plus around 75 per cent of the squad that will be involved were in the squad that lost in the Suffolk Senior Cup Final on Friday and had to collect a runners-up medal, so they will want to use that as motivation.
“We know it will be a tough game, so we will need to use that motivation to our advantage. Needham have some very strong players and although we will probably be favourites because of our history in the competition, we know we should have won on Friday, so we need to have our wits about us and treat Needham with a lot of respect.”
Liam Pearce (yellow shirt) is pictured above taking on the Framlingham Town defence during Friday’s final. Photograph: Steve Screech