Portman Road trip disappoints boss

A SUFFOLK club manager has expressed disappointment that his side is going to play at Portman Road next week.

Elvin King

A SUFFOLK club manager has expressed disappointment that his side is going to play at Portman Road next week.

While thousands of footballers in the county would look upon it as a dream come true and something to tell their grandchildren in later life Haverhill Rovers boss Peter Betts sees things differently.

Ipswich Town have decided to play their Suffolk Premier Cup quarter-final against the Ridgeons League Premier Division club at their home ground.

Roy Keane's club have been back in the competition for four seasons now and previously when drawn at home they have switched the match to the ground of their opponents.

But with just one Championship game at Portman Road this month and an international break coming up, the Blues are happy to take up their option to be at home.

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Betts is unhappy that his side will be playing in one of the best stadiums and on one of the best pitches in the country rather than their own homespun Hamlet Croft venue with one rather rustic stand and open to the elements.

“It would have been great for Ipswich to come down and play at our place,” said Betts.

“I'm disappointed that my players are not going to have the opportunity to play in front of a big crowd at home.”

Whether his players will agree with him when they run out under the bright lights at Portman Road next week is doubtful, with one of the attractions of Suffolk's three top cup competitions (Premier, Senior and Junior Cups) is playing in the final at Portman Road.

Betts did admit: “I guess very few of my players have had the opportunity to play there before, and it's also a chance for local people to see Haverhill play a Championship club at their own ground.

“And there's no reason why those people cannot get across to Ipswich.”

The match takes place on Tuesday November 10 with Haverhill beating Newmarket Town on penalties to reach this stage. A young Town side won at Leiston.

A spokesperson for Ipswich Town explained the reasoning behind the decision to play at home.

“It just fits in with an international break. Previously there has been a first team game around the corner and the club wanted to preserve the pitch.

“There are no Combination reserve league games planned for the next two months, and it's all really a matter of timing.

“I'm sure Haverhill will enjoy they night with us and their players with enjoy playing here.”

Suffolk FA have confirmed that income from the game will be shared after officials costs and Haverhill's travelling expenses, so the Ridgeons League club should not lose out financially.

Haverhill Rovers are running a supporters bus on Tuesday with the coast �8. Further details can be obtained from Mick Tokley on 07939 042396.