FA Cup tie holds cash incentive for Needham Market

THE FA Cup is just as important for off-the-field finances as progress on it for Needham Market as they travel to Concord Rangers tomorrow.

The �3,000 purse on offer to the winners of the first round qualifying ties is a substantial amount to most non-league clubs.

And for Ryman League Division One North outfit Needham Market, who face opposition a step higher up the non-league ladder, it has taken on extra significance this season.

Chairman Dave Bugg explained: “We lost SEHBAC, who had been our main sponsors for the last two years, at the end of last season, which was a major blow to us.

“We have not adequately replaced them as yet, although we do have someone in the pipeline.

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“It is the same for most non-league clubs these days – we are not alone in having to find ourselves sponsors, and it is a constant battle but we do what we can do.

“The FA Cup is always exciting, and if we can reach the next stage we might draw a Conference North or South club, which can be quite an attraction.”

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Tomorrow’s tie is a re-match of last season’s Alan Boon Cup meeting between the two sides – and Needham would welcome a repeat outcome.

Bugg said: “We played them at their ground in the Ryman League Cup last season and won 3-2 after extra time, when our goalkeeper Andrew Plummer scored the winner.

“I remember it well because it was my birthday and they didn’t charge me for any drinks in the bar!

“They are a Ryman Premier League side, so it is a step up for us, and it could be a very, very difficult game for us.

“Having said that, they are not doing very well this season and it is a game we could win.”

Needham have made a solid start in the league, sitting in seventh spot with seven points from three matches, and hammered Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division Gorleston 6-2 in the last round.

Manager Danny Laws will be in the dugout for the first time this season, after returning from a family holiday in Florida.

Bugg quipped: “He could be in line for manager of the month without even being here!

“However, I am sure Neil Reader (assistant manager) would be the first to admit that Danny has been missed, and we are looking forward to having him back.”

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