Needham Market manager Mark Morsley has begun dreaming of an FA Cup giant killing, but must first overcome rivals AFC Sudbury.
In a quirky twist of fate at this stage of the FA Cup, the Suffolk rivals meet at Bloomfields tomorrow (3pm) to do battle in a third round qualifying encounter, with the victors netting a welcome £7,500 windfall.
As well as the welcome revenue, there is the added incentive of the possibility of facing sides such as Luton Town, Cambridge United and Barnet when the Skrill Conference Premier sides enter the competition in the next round.
For Needham, who followed up a 3-0 defeat to Tilbury in the FA Trophy preliminary round on Saturday with a 2-1 Suffolk FA Premier Cup first round success over Walsham-le-Willows, courtesy of Danny Garrad and Kemal Izzet, on Tuesday night, it would also be the furthest they would have gone in the competi tion, a point not lost on the manager.
“I’m really looking forward to it, there’s a lot of good ties for me having managed there and it should be a really good game, “ he said.
“It’s a big day for a lot of reasons, one being the huge incentive of going further than we have before and then there’s the bragging rights.
“You don’t usually draw someone from your own league at this stage but that is the way it is, football can throw up some funny things.
“They are always good occasions and it is also great for Suffolk.
“It would mean a lot to get through with the huge incentive of having the chance to get a big club and big day out in the next round.
“If we can win one more game than that chance is there and for me that is what this competition is all about.”
The Marketmen’s preparations have been hampered ahead of the tie with Sheridan Driver, Andrew Plummer and Jamie Guy all set to miss out through injury.
However, Ian Westlake and Kieran Morphew could be set for a return while the club also pulled off the impressive signing of former Arsenal goalkeeper and free agent James Shea this week.
The custodian is set to deputise in place of the injured Plummer and on loan Sam Cowler from Bishop’s Storford, albeit on a very temporary basis.
“Sam Cowler was brought in from Bishop’s Storford but they don’t want him to be cup tied,” explained Morsley.
“James wants to play for a Football League club and even though he could just be here for the one game nothing is set in stone.
“We are delighted to have someone of his pedigree and we are in a very fortunate position to have him.
“We are more than happy with Andrew but football can that sort of game, we will have to see what happens.”
Turning his attention back to tomorrow, Morsley, whose side also face a trip to Aveley in a Ryman League Division One North match on Monday (7.45pm), if there is no replay, has promised to go on the offensive in an encounter between two sides separated by just one goal in the league.
“Obviously we are very closely matched but I think we are very different football wise, it will be an intriguing clash of styles,” he added.
“The match is finely poised but with it being a one-off match it is completely different.
“I will be solely focused on winning with a more attacking outlook than in a league game.”