LAKENHEATH manager Trevor Collins has praised their Endeavour Automotive Suffolk Premier Cup opponents Felixstowe & Walton United.
The two sides meet in a second-round tie at The Nest on Wednesday night, and Collins said the way in which the Seasiders have gone about building the club is a ‘benchmark’ for clubs looking to step up.
Lakenheath currently top the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division, and promotion to Step 4 would potentially see them join Felixstowe in the Isthmian North division next season.
Collins said: “I think the way they have gone about things in the last few years has been spot on and they are a benchmark for clubs who want to make that step up.
“They have got some older players who have been at the club for a few years along with youngsters they have developed and have shown that patience is the way to do it.
“They have trusted their process and what they are trying to do and have also got things right behind the scenes.”
Collins is looking forward to his players testing themselves against Step 4 opposition.
This is only Lakenheath’s third season in the Suffolk Premier Cup, after winning the 2020-21 CNet Training Suffolk Senior Cup in the same season as they won promotion to the Premier Division.
Collins said: “It is a difficult competition to win – one of the most difficult county cup competitions around due to the number of Step 3 and 4 teams playing in it.
“But it is a good opportunity for us to play against a very good side and a very good club and will provide an opportunity for our players to play against those playing at Step 4 level.”
Collins said only a few of his players – Charlie Beckwith, Matt Collins, Tom Debenham and Cam Nicholls – have previously played a handful of games at Step 4.
Lakenheath sit top of the table after 11 games and Collins added: “The game will be a nice break from the league, so there will be no pressure on us at all.
“The players we have brought in have strengthened the quality of the squad as well as the mind-set in the dressing room, but we still have a awful lot of work to do as we are not where we want to be at the moment.
“We are a work in progress and have slipped up recently although that has been against teams you would expect to be at the top of the table.
“If I has been asked before the start of the season whether I would have taken being top at this stage, I would have been lying if I said no, but I won’t be worried about our league position until after 20-plus matches.”
There are also two second-round ties on Tuesday night, both taking place in Lowestoft.
Kirkley & Pakefield, like Lakenheath, welcome Isthmian North opposition as Stowmarket Town are the visitors, while Lowestoft Town host Step 5 side Walsham-le-Willows.
Felixstowe & Walton United manager Stuart Boardley (right) and assistant Andy Crump (left) are pictured above.
Endeavour Automotive Suffolk Premier Cup Second Round: Kirkley & Pakefield v Stowmarket Town, Lowestoft Town v Walsham-le-Willows.
Endeavour Automotive Suffolk Premier Cup Second Round: Lakenheath v Felixstowe & Walton Utd.