Gareth Heath has warned that Needham Market need to be a lot better than Monday’s disappointing 3-0 home defeat to Brightlingsea Regent if he is to enjoy what could be his last ever campaign in the Emirates FA Cup, writes Russell Claydon.
The 37-year-old will lead the Marketmen out as captain in the First Qualifying Round at minnows Clapton tomorrow (3pm).
But the player signed from Leiston in the summer, who had been a replay victory away from reaching the First Round Proper and a plumb tie with Port Vale in 2004 with the coastal side, is wise enough to know it will not be a matter of just turning up.
“The FA Cup is the FA Cup. We know that in any round, at any level, upsets happen. And we have got to make sure that does not happen Saturday,” he said.
“If we put in a performance like we did Monday, we will be in trouble.
“Even though they play two levels below us, they will raise their game. And if we fall to their level we are potentially going to struggle.”
With Bury Town having fallen at the first hurdle, and thus getting the booby prize of a weekend off, Needham are the only side in the Free Press’ circulation area left in the famous competition.
And Heath, a midfielder who grabbed 14 goals and 16 assists with Leiston last season, would love to open his account for The Marketmen tomorrow to help fire them on to a memorable cup run.
“The FA Cup is always important as far I am concerned and always has been in my career,” he said.
“I have had a couple of good runs and I would like another good one, especially here this year.
“But we start Saturday and we have got to have our attitudes right. If they aren’t, that will be the end of it for us.”
Heath said he would be taking a good hard look at his own game following Monday’s failure to exert themselves against Brightlingsea and added he hopes the rest of the players will do the same too.
The Marketmen will have to make do without centre-back Dan Morphew for the tie, with the summer signing from Dereham suspended after his sending off Monday, while Kieran Morphew is a doubt after coming off injured Monday.
Manager Richard Wilkins added he continues to be frustrated in his search for a striker.