Achilles manager Alan Middle aiming to go out on a high

ACHILLES manager Alan Middle is bidding to end his eight-year reign by lifting the Touchline Sports Cup.

Middle is standing down of the Kingsley Healthcare SIL Senior Division side at the end of the season, with assistant Lee Osborne taking over the reins.

The final on Wednesday, May 9 will be Middle’s swansong if the Ipswich-based side can overcome East Bergholt in tomorrow’s semi-final at Salmet Close.

The two sides go into the game on the back of contrasting results – Achilles losing 7-0 to Crane Sports last Saturday while East Bergholt were thumping Melton St Audry’s 6-0.

Middle said: “Up until last week we have been playing well. I am not making excuses, but we had some players missing against a side playing for their lives while we looked like a side waiting for the season to end.

“We had half a dozen chances and didn’t take any and they had a dozen and scored seven!”

Middle, who has a full squad to chose from with the exception of the cup-tied Ben Taylor, is happy to have been drawn at home to East Bergholt, although he admits they have been a bogey side for Achilles in recent seasons.

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After just two defeats in their last 12 league games East Bergholt sit fifth in the table, while Achilles six points behind in eighth place with four matches in hand.

“If we win our games in hand we will jump above East Bergholt, but if we play like we did on Saturday we won’t be going anywhere!

“They will be difficult to beat and have been a bogey side for us, but it is a cup semi-final and anything can happen.

“If I am honest I would have been happy with drawing anyone at home – Haughley would have been a tough tie and I am please we avoided Wenhaston United, even though they are a Division One side.”

Middle led Achilles to runners-up and promotion from Division One in 2008/09 in the same season as they lifted the Suffolk Junior Cup, and has contested at least three semi-finals, losing the Omnico Cup final to Ransomes in his second season.

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