THETFORD Town sharpshooter Matt Dixon insists his side could overcome the loss of influential midfielder Bruno Tavares to win the Norfolk Senior Cup at Carrow Road on Monday (7.30pm).
Portuguese winger Tavares is rated as 50/50 ahead of the Brecklanders’ clash with Gorleston after picking up a calf strain in a training session last week.
But Dixon — who has 48 goals in all competitions to his name so far this campaign — believes Thetford have already proved this season they have enough strength in depth to cope with the situation.
“Bruno would be a big loss because although we are a good defensive team we are going there to try and win a final,” he said. “He’s laid on a few goals for me, but the whole team has to be fair.
“We’ve got promotion because we’ve got a good squad and although we have players missing we will deal with it.”
Steve Harley (suspended) and Nathan Szyszlyk (knee) will be also missing for Town’s trip to Norwich City’s Barclays Premier League ground that has hosted the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea this season.
Should Dixon — who scored a penalty in Monday’s warm-up game with Walsham-le-Willows that ended 1-1 — match the feat of Arsenal captain Robin van Persie by netting twice at Carrow Road, he would take his season’s tally to 50 goals in all competitions.
He said: “If I can reach 50, it would be a real bonus personally, but we want a trophy so we’ve got something to show for what we’ve achieved this season.”
The promoted Brecklanders — who missed out on the Ridgeons League First Division title on goal difference — will also be looking for some payback against Premier Division Gorleston, who beat them in the final of last season’s First Division Knockout Cup.
Manager Mark Scott – in his third season in charge at Mundford Road – said: “They were deserved First Division champions last year, but in the cup final itself we let ourselves down in spells.
“We are a stronger, more determined side this year, but I feel we need to avenge that defeat.”
Scott and Dixon also believe victory at Carrow Road over Gorleston – who finished the campaign in 12th place despite winning just one of their last five league games – would ‘prove a point’ ahead of their first season back in the top flight of the Eastern Counties League since 1992.
The Brecklanders’ boss said: “We are not going into the Premier Division to make up the numbers – we are going in there to prove we can be a force, and winning on Monday will help show some early signs of that.”
He added: “This will be my biggest test to date. To lead your team out in a Norfolk Senior Cup final should be a fantastic day and will be the highlight of my football career.”
n There are still a few seats left on the coach for the final at a cost of £5 each, leaving the sports centre at 6pm. Contact Bob Richards on 01842 764282.
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