Mental strength is key to keep Needham in romance of FA Cup

MIND GAMES:  Needham Market manager Mark Morsley has hailed his side's mental toughness ahead of their FA Cup tie with Dunstable Town
MIND GAMES: Needham Market manager Mark Morsley has hailed his side's mental toughness ahead of their FA Cup tie with Dunstable Town
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Needham Market manager Mark Morsley has hailed his side’s unwavering self belief as he aims to remain in the romance of the FA Cup.

Ahead of tomorrow’s visit of Dunstable Town, of Calor League Division One Central, in an FA Cup second qualifying round tie (3pm), the Marketmen’s belief was put to the test as they came from a two-goal deficit to overcome Dereham Town on Tuesday night courtesy of goals from Jamie Guy, Sam Newson and Sheridan Driver.

After also coming through two challenging previous rounds, beating Haverhill Rovers and Brantham Athletic 3-2, Morsley has ranked his dressing room’s mental strength as one of the best he’s managed, as he looks to take another step in the competition and net a £4,500 windfall.

“That team of mine has fantastic self belief,” he remarked. “Their attitude is remarkable — it’s quite possibly the best dressing I’ve had

“I didn’t enjoy going 2-0 down, but the reaction in the second half was brilliant and we could have ended up scoring nine. We battered them.

“After our last two results in the competition I’d be happy with a boring 1-0 win.

“However, matches in the FA Cup are different, teams raise their game because it means so much to be involved in the competition.

“It will be interesting to see what sort of match unravels tomorrow, but put it this way, I’d be happy to take a 1-0 win.”

One issue tomorrow against their fourth-placed opponents in a league equivalent to Ryman One North, could be the absence of key personnel with Ian Westlake, Dave Wareham, Kieran Morphew and Lee Townrow all set to miss out through injury.

However, the manager can take inspiration from Needham’s current unbeaten run since the start of the season of 12 games in all competitions, a sequence he is extremely keen to maintain.

“We are looking a little light in certain areas and that is a bit of concern for myself,” he added.

“However, I am desperate for this run we are on to keep going because that momentum is very important.

“It gives you a platform to build on and that has been evident over the season already to come through some very difficult matches.

“At the beginning of the season we set out our priorities and aspirations as a club.

“Getting into the play-offs was number one, but closely behind was a strong run in the cup competitions.

“For me it is not even down to the financial rewards because we are not in a position where the pressure is there to have to win.

“It is more to do with the love of the competition, it is the greatest cup competition in the world and one of the few genuine romances left in football.

“Three victories would see us have a chance of facing a Football League club and that is exciting.”

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