Lakenheath have the right mix for cup success
LOCAL FOOTBALL By Dave Gooderham
LAKENHEATH boss Karl Johnson believes his blend of vastly experienced players alongside some local lads could be key in bringing home the Suffolk Senior Cup at the first attempt.
Dominating the Cambridgeshire-based Kershaw Premier League this season, Johnson is now hoping for cup glory in tonight’s match against Whitton United at Portman Road.
After joining the Suffolk club last summer, Johnson identified that the one thing missing from the talented squad was experience and proceeded to bring in Colin Vowden, Ricky Cornish and Paul Betson.
The trio have all played at Wembley before so should be unfazed by a cup final at the home of Ipswich Town.
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Johnson said: “When I took over, Lakenheath were a third or fourth-placed league side. I knew we needed some experience to go alongside talented lads like Matty Bellingham, who are Lakenheath through-and-through.
“We are really looking forward to the final and we are taking three or four coach-loads of supporters with us. It is our first time in the final and it will be a great experience.”
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While Whitton had a welcome rest day at the weekend, Lakenheath lost their first league match of the season against Hardwick where Johnson unsurprisingly played a second-string team.
He added: “We are disappointed we had to play on Saturday, especially as we gave the Cambridgeshire FA three or four different dates when we could play Hardwick. But I would be a fool if I didn’t say we are favourites to win the league and it would take a major hiccup for us to lose it.”
As for his opposition, Johnson revealed he would be focusing more on his side’s strengths. We have had Whitton watched,” the Lakenheath boss said. “But I don’t want to put too many thoughts into my players’ minds about what they can do.
“We did that against Ransomes Sports in the quarter-final and we did ourselves no favours at all. In the semi-finals against Achilles, we gave our players just the information they needed and we played a lot better.”
Whitton United, whose chairman is former Norwich City and Tottenham winger Ruel Fox, are also gunning for promotion from the Ridgeons League Division One.
Manager Ian Brown said: “Of course a win would be nice, and this is what we are going out to achieve. But just to get to the final is an accolade and one game will not make any difference to what has been achieved.
“We want to get promoted, and this is our main priority with all our remaining games like a cup final.”