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Needham Market boss Richard Wilkins wants FA Cup round win for continued momentum

Needham Market manager Richard Wilkins feels his side have finally been rewarded for good performances after their first two victories of the season, and hopes they can maintain their momentum in the Emirates FA Cup tomorrow, writes Oscar Johnson.

The Marketmen ran out 1-0 winners at Hednesford Town on Saturday, making it two wins on the bounce. Luke Ingram found the net in the 18th minute for his third goal in the past two outings.

The win moved them up to 11th place in the BetVictor Southern Premier Central table, and Wilkins feels his side were good value for the victories.

Needham celebrate as they beat Leiston 3-0 on August 26, 2019. Picture: Ben Pooley (16137178)
Needham celebrate as they beat Leiston 3-0 on August 26, 2019. Picture: Ben Pooley (16137178)

“We were really pleased to get the two wins, and two clean sheets makes it even better,” he said. “To go to Hednesford and win was impressive because they are a good side.”

Prior to the match against Leiston, Wilkins’ side had failed to win any of their opening four games. And the manager feels their change in form is proof that they had been unlucky.

“We felt we had been really unlucky because we had played well and just fallen short,” he said.

“Against Redditch was possibly our best performance, especially going forward, and yet they scored a late goal and we were denied the win.”

Wilkins hopes his side can carry the momentum of their last two results into tomorrow’s away trip to BetVictor Isthmian League North side Dereham Town in the first round qualifying of the FA Cup (3pm).

“We need to keep believing and be positive, we want to keep this going,” he said.

Despite the gap in divisions, the Needham boss insists his side will be in for a tough game.

“It will be a difficult game because they are a good side, especially at home. We know what they are capable of and the qualities they have in their team, so we are expecting a tough game and certainly won’t be taking it lightly,” he said.

“There is always shocks in every round of the FA Cup, and we need to make sure we aren’t one.”

After Saturday’s game, Needham face Leiston again in the CSS League Challenge Cup Preliminary Round on Tuesday (7.45pm) and Wilkins says it could be an opportunity for some of the younger players to gain senior experience.

“The league cup game might be a good chance to play some of the youngsters, especially if we have some injury problems with the first team,” Wilkins said.

The Needham manager is now believing his side are capable of making the play-offs.

“We want to be pushing for the play-offs, you begin to get an idea of the league table after 10 or 12 games and hopefully we will be there or thereabouts,” he said.

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