‘History there to be made,’ says Whitton United boss Paul Bugg
WHITTON United will tonight try to re-write the history books in the LB Group Suffolk FA Senior Cup final at Portman Road.
Long Melford became the last side to win the cup three times in a row, after victories in 1953, 1954 and 1955. Woodbridge Town (1993 & 1994), Grundisburgh (1995 & 1996) and Kirkley & Pakefield (2001 & 2002) have each won it twice in succession since.
But Whitton, winners against Lakenheath in 2011 and Long Melford last year, will become the first side to complete a hat-trick of wins for 58 years if they can overcome fellow Thurlow Nunn League First Division opponents Ipswich Wanderers this evening.
Ian Brown was boss on both the previous occasions, but current incumbent Paul Bugg is only too aware of the prize at stake.
He said: “There is history to be made. Kevin Inglis, Anton Clarke and Robbie Knott could all win the cup for the third year in a row – I don’t know how many players have done that before? Anyone who remembers the last time it happened would be in their late sixties now.”
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Apart from Mark Vanoene, who is cup-tied after playing for Grundisburgh earlier in the competition, Whitton will be at full strength and Bugg announced his 16-man squad at a training session on Saturday.
The squad includes three 16-year-olds – Dale Hammond, Ryan Flynn and Wes Doyle – one of whom will start.
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“We have worked on what we want to do and play to our strengths. We are not interested in what they are going to do, and I am sure they feel the same.
“We will not take them lightly. We have done our homework and feel we are in the best possible shape that we can be,” said Bugg.
Whitton declined the option of playing Braintree Town Reserves last Saturday, preferring to bring the match forward to give Mical Moore (thigh) and Kris Nita (ankle) more time to recover and they have both been given a clean bill of health.
Bugg said: “I think the two teams are very evenly matched – Liam Jones and Wanderers Jamie Stannard are the best two goalkeepers in our league, and possibly even in the Premier Division, our front three and midfield are on a par, so I think it will be down to how the back fours perform.
“But I think whoever wins it will be by one goal.”
Bugg said that Glenn Snell, who is his joint assistant manager with Andrew Broughton, had been a great help in preparing for the final while Needham Market physio Kirk Denim will be helping out tonight.
For updates on tonight’s final follow @Nick_Garnham on Twitter from 6.30pm onwards