Walsham to savour occasion as Ipswich make an historic visit

FRIENDS REUNITED: Town old boy Gavin Johnson will come face to face with his former employers on Tuesday
FRIENDS REUNITED: Town old boy Gavin Johnson will come face to face with his former employers on Tuesday
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Walsham-le-Willows are preparing for the biggest day in the club’s history with Ipswich Town set to visit Summer Road.

A bumper crowd is expected for the re-arranged Suffolk Premier Cup first round tie against newly-installed Mick McCarthy’s npower Championship outfit on Tuesday (7.45pm).

Suffolk’s only professional football club will come face-to-face with ex-Tractor Boy Gavin Johnson, who now plies his trade in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division with the Willows.

Manager Paul Smith could not hide his excitement as he looked ahead to the challenge of hosting Town, who return to the competition for the first time since 2010.

“Having Ipswich come to Walsham is great and will certainly be a big occasion for everyone connected with the club,” he said.

“They will be favourites but I just want my players to go out there, take it all in and enjoy it because it is a great time for Walsham.

“I’m not sure if their new manager will be here, but it would be a massive bonus to have him down here and watch.

“The other bonus for us is that it should bring a big crowd and hopefully that will give us a much needed boost with the gate receipts.”

Before the Willows can think about Ipswich, they will turn their attentions to a visit from struggling FC Clacton tomorrow (3pm).

Smith’s charges go into the encounter on the back of consecutive victories, following up a 3-1 win over Wivenhoe Town on Saturday with an impressive 3-0 win over rivals Thetford Town on Wednesday night courtesy of a brace from Ollie Hughes and further strike from Tom Agricole.

“After Saturday’s result we spoke about an important seven days for us in which we thought we could take maximum points,” he added.

“If we can do the same on Saturday then that would be nine points in a week and push us right up the league.

“Victory could put us as high as fourth I believe, which would be the highest this club has been in the league for a long time, that is our incentive.

“We lost to them away this year which was a disappointing result and we will certainly be looking for revenge.”

League rivals and table toppers Mildenhall Town will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2-0 defeat away to Stanway Rovers on Saturday when they host Norwich United tomorrow (3pm).

Success there would also give Christian Appleford’s charges the perfect preparation ahead of Tuesday night’s trip to Gorleston for the Red Insure Cup second round encounter (7.45pm).

Another side looking to respond from setback tomorrow is Mark Scott’s Thetford Town.

However, the task won’t be easy for the Brecklanders as they head to high-flying Wisbech Town.

First Division Stowmarket halted a run of 13 straight defeats in all competitions, with a hard fought 2-2 draw with Saffron Walden on Saturday.

Town will be looking to build on that when they host fellow strugglers Cornard United tomorrow (3pm).