‘Premier Cup win would be fitting finale for Morsley’

GUARD CHANGE: Richard Wilkins (left) and Mark Morsley (right)
GUARD CHANGE: Richard Wilkins (left) and Mark Morsley (right)

Richard Wilkins wants to give Needham Market manager Mark Morsley a perfect send off by winning the Suffolk FA Premier Cup sponsored by Omni Freight Services Ltd on Monday (7.30pm).

Morsley announced in March that he will step down as boss of the Marketmen at the end of the season to become chairman of Needham Market Football Club Ltd, with his assistant Wilkins taking over in the hotseat at Bloomfields.

And ahead of Needham facing Ryman League Premier Division rivals Lowestoft Town in the final of this season’s Premier Cup, Wilkins hopes to provide Morsley with a fitting finale by lifting silverware in his last game in charge.

“It would be a fitting finale for Mark to lift the Suffolk Premier Cup,” Wilkins said. “He’s managed for many years in non-league football and has worked very closely with Needham Market, so it would be nice for him to go out with the trophy.

“Lowestoft will have their own plans about that and they’re probably, over the last few league games, one of the form teams in the league.

“It’s going to be a tough game. It’s not going to be easy at all. Both games in the league (1-1 draw away and 2-0 win at home) were very close affairs.

“Ady Gallagher (Lowestoft manager) has done well there this season, as there was lots of talk about this, that and the other, about the academy breaking up and lots of players leaving the club.

“But he’s kept it going and put in a lot of hard work and he’s got Lowestoft in a very respectable position in the table.”

Lowestoft finished their first campaign back in the Ryman League’s top flight, following their relegation from Vanarama National League North at the end of 2015-16, in 11th spot.

The Trawlerboys are bidding to win the Premier Cup for a 14th time, and for a third year in a row, having lifted the trophy in each of the last two years.

After spending the majority of the season in the top five, Needham’s play-off push drifted off in the final months of the campaign, as they ended up in ninth place, but still a lofty 11 positions higher than the previous term.

The Marketmen are aiming to capture the Premier Cup for only the second time, with their previous sole success in the competition coming back in 2008 when they beat Leiston on penalties.

And for Wilkins, who has won the Premier Cup three times before while managing Bury Town, the soon to be Needham boss would like to bring some silverware back to the trophy cabinet at Bloomfields as a thank you to the club’s many volunteers and supporters.

“The club itself is a very well-run club and we’ve got some super volunteers here,” he said.

“There work does go unnoticed sometimes, not by the management or the players, and it would be a fitting end to the season to win the cup for them and the fans as well.

“We’ll be doing our best to bring the cup back to Bloomfields.”

The final will be held at Colchester United’s Weston Homes Community Stadium, unless the U’s reach the League Two play-offs, in which case it would move to AFC Sudbury.