Needham Market Long Eaton Utd Feb 2024 1

A 'dangerous' tie for Premier Cup holders

A ‘dangerous’ semi-final tie awaits Suffolk Premier Cup holders Needham Market tomorrow.

NEEDHAM Market manager Kevin Horlock sees their Endeavour Automotive Suffolk Premier Cup Semi-Final as a ‘dangerous’ tie for his side.

The Marketmen face an Ipswich Town XI in the first semi-final of this season’s competition at the Millfield, home of Hadleigh United FC, on Tuesday night, kick-off 7.45pm.

Needham, who sit top of Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central, will be favourites to reach the final when they take on an Ipswich Town U18 side.



Horlock’s side, who needed a 90th minute winner to defeat Long Eaton United 2-1 at Bloomfields on Saturday, will be going in search of a fourth consecutive win in the competition.

Only Bury Town, who won the inaugural competition in the 1958-59 season and for the three seasons after that and Sudbury Town (1986-87 until 1989-90) have previously achieved the feat.

Although his side are involved in a promotion battle, Horlock is keen that Needham retain their grip on the trophy and believes they can maintain their challenge on both fronts.

He said: “I want to win it again. We have won it for the last three years and I want to make it four and obviously if we don’t, I will be disappointed.

“We have got quite a healthy squad at the moment with more or less everyone fit. We have got Millsy (Adam Mills) out for a couple of weeks and Reece (Harris) has been out for a number of weeks already, but we have got young lads chomping on the bit to get starts.

“We also have Byron (Lawrence) and Manny (Emmanuel Okunowo) looking to get minutes, so throughout the league and the Premier Cup we are still going to be fairly strong.”

Horlock admitted he doesn’t know much about their opponents who have knocked out both AFC Sudbury and Ipswich Wanderers, but is hoping his side’s experience will carry them through to the final.

“They use the competition to play their under-18s, so they are going to be talented footballers, although quite young, but sometimes they are fearless at that age.

“It is a dangerous game for us and we are going to have to use our nous and experience of playing at Step 3 and try and dominate them physically.

“Everyone will look at it and see it as a tight game, which it probably will be, but I am hoping that we have that added experience which will see us over the line,” he said.

Needham Market’s Nico Valentine, who is on loan from Ipswich Town FC, is pictured above (red shirt) in action during Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Long Eaton United at Bloomfields.



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