Needham boss confident his side are capable of causing an FA Cup upset

HIGH HOPES: Richard Wilkins
HIGH HOPES: Richard Wilkins
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Richard Wilkins says his Needham Market side do not need to go into tomorrow’s Emirates FA Cup Third Round Qualifying home tie with higher-league Dartford with a defensive mindset, writes Russell Claydon.

The Marketmen will be bidding to reach the last qualifying round before the first round proper for the first time in four seasons on Saturday (3pm), but National League South frontrunners Dartford will be over-whelming favourites for the tie, having had a strong start to the season which sees them just four points off the top.

But Wilkins, who was confident of tying up a deal for a loan striker from a higher league in time to register him to play in the game, said he will not let his side sit back and look to hit their opponents on the break.

“We have had a report on them and they have some very good players and are a very good side who play 4-3-3 ,” he said.

“But if we play as well as we can do, we will be right in this match.

“We do not have to sit back and defend.

“We cannot go gung-ho, of course, but there is certainly no need for us to park the bus, so to speak.

With John Sands not able to be risked with ongoing issues with nerve damage in a bone in his foot, while Jamie Griffiths is still not ready for the first team following his return from an ACL injury, Wilkins has been working hard to get another striker in the building.

But goals have come from all over the pitch over the last week with Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Enfield followed by Tuesday’s 3-1 victory at Harlow Town, the latter which particularly impressed the Needham chief.

“We played well against Harlow on Tuesday, and that was a tough fixture for the boys as it is an old style artificial pitch and the boys was saying it was very hard.”

Central defender Dan Morphew gave the Marketmen the lead in the 31st minute, while captain Gareth Heath and fellow centre-back Sam Nunn both struck before the break for a 3-0 lead at The Harlow Arena.

The only blemish on the scoresheet in the second half came from a Nunn goal at the wrong end.

On Saturday at Bloomfields, striker Luke Ingram had fired Wilkins’ side into a 40th minute lead, only for Daryl Coakley to put through his own net soon after the restart.

The hosts then looked like they had chucked any chance of league points away after Jack Higgs struck in the 81st minute.

But Dan Morphew kept his cool from the penalty spot in the final minute of the original 90 to ensure a point.

Coupled with Tuesday’s victory, it leaves Needham 14th place in the Bostik League Premier Division.