Middle's men get a final chance
ACHILLES play their games at Salmet Close to the accompaniment of roars from Portman Road.Tomorrow they get a chance to make their own cheers at the home of Ipswich Town.
ACHILLES play their games at Salmet Close to the accompaniment of roars from Portman Road.
Tomorrow they get a chance to make their own cheers at the home of Ipswich Town.
Victory against fellow Metaltec SIL First Division Stanton at Haughley (kick-off 2.15pm) will see Alan Middle's side book a place in the final of the Debenham Leisure Centre Suffolk Junior Cup.
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With their ground situated just off Belstead Road, Achilles virtually look down on Portman Road where the Junior Cup final will be played.
But in their long history - they have been in the SIL since 1941 - they have never played at Suffolk's premier football ground.
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“We can hear all the cheers coming from Portman Road when we are both at home,” said Middle, who says that a final appearance would give a fully deserved big day out for a number of club stalwarts.
President David Routh, chairman Dave Morgan and linesman Paul Sparkes have all been connected with the club since the 1950's while Achilles have a small loyal band of regular supporters.
“Our main aim is to get back to senior football where we think we belong,” continued Middle.
“But this is a nice distraction and one that we are looking forward to.
“We know it will be tough having lost 4-0 away to Stanton in the league and pipped them 3-2 at home.
“If we play as well as we have for the last few games we will have a chance but we need to be at the top of our game.”
Stanton are just below fifth-placed Achilles, who have games in hand on those above them, but this is only because they had six points deducted for using an ineligible player.
Achilles, who lost a Senior Cup semi-final to Walsham-le-Willows under Middle's management a few years back, have still to play leaders Wenhaston in the league.
But tomorrow their attention will be on the Junior Cup with four players missing from the squad. Jack Wilkinson and Ross Wardley are injured while Gavin Allen is suspended and Lee Osborn cup tied.
“All the lads have done well this season,” added Middle. “And this will test the strength of the squad.”
Extra-time and penalties will be utilised tomorrow if necessary, with Middle having a fear if it does go to spot kicks.
“We won our quarter-final but missed two penalties during the game, and we had a run of 12 spot kicks recently when we only scored three!” said Middle.
Tomorrow's winners will play fellow SIL teams Old Newton or Thurston in the final with these two meeting at Debenham for their right to play at Portman Road.