Bartons allowed to play replacement keeper in Suffolk Junior Cup final

BARTONS FC have been given special dispensation to register goalkeeper Elliot Barrs to play in tonight’s Suffolk Junior Cup final at Portman Road.

The Bury St Edmunds-based club were dealt a major blow in the build-up to tonight’s final when goalkeeper and captain James Curtis suffered a fractured skull at the weekend and was admitted to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

The club approached Suffolk FA to request special dispensation to sign a replacement keeper in advance of tonight’s final against Westerfield United, kick-off 7pm.

Suffolk FA confirmed this morning that following discussions with the St Edmundsbury League and Westerfield United, Bartons have registered Barrs to play in tonight’s showpiece game.

Phil Knight, chief executive of Suffolk FA, said: “I would like to commend the attitude of both the St Edmundsbury League and Westerfield United for making this possible. It demonstrates all that is good about the game at this level.”

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Bartons manager Marco Crescitelli had said yesterday: “James is a massive loss for us. He has been outstanding for us this season.

“I am trying to pick everyone off the floor at the moment. It is very hard to take, and everyone is quite depressed at the news.”

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With the club’s only other recognised keeper cup-tied, Crescitelli approached Suffolk FA yesterday about the possibility of registering another goalkeeper.

Crescitelli, who said he did not know how Curtis had sustained the injury, had said the club faced the prospect of playing one of their outfield players in goal if they were unable to register a replacement keeper.

Ipswich Town fan Crescitelli is under no illusions as to the size of the task facing his side, who have won the treble in the Glasswells St Edmundsbury League this season.

“Westerfield will be favourites because they play at a higher level than us and in a stronger league than ours. We have watched them play and we will be going out and trying to play the game and not the occasion.”

For updates from tonight’s final follow Nick Garnham @ Nick_Garnham.

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