Needham hopeful of making progress

NEEDHAM Market manager Danny Laws is hopeful his side can get through the FA Cup Preliminary Round tomorrow and potentially set up an intriguing tie at AFC Sudbury.

Stuart Watson

NEEDHAM Market manager Danny Laws is hopeful his side can get through the FA Cup Preliminary Round tomorrow and potentially set up an intriguing tie at AFC Sudbury.

Needham host fellow Ridgeons League Premier Division side Wisbech, the winners of which will meet the victors from AFC Sudbury's trip to Woodford United.

That would prove to be an interesting encounter, with Needham one of the favourites to win their step five league and fellow Suffolk side AFC Sudbury currently struggling at step four in the Zamaretto League Midlands Division One.

“That's potentially a big game and one that could help us attract a few new fans early in the season,” said Laws. “I hope we can get past Wisbech because it's always good to use the FA Cup as a chance to test yourself against higher tier opposition.

“Wisbech are a better outfit than last year, they have recruited one or two decent players with experience and we know we'll be in for a match. But we're undefeated at home so far this season and haven't conceded a goal at Bloomfields so we've got to make our home advantage count.”

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Prior to Laws' arrival at Needham at the start of the 2006/7 season the club had never won an FA Cup match in their history. However, in his first two seasons in charge of the mid-Suffolk club Laws led his side to the First Qualifying Round before exiting by single goal margins to Dereham and Grantham respectively.

Last season Needham went one step further and reached the Second Qualifying Round before losing 3-1 at Dover Athletic. The Kent-based club then went on to storm the Ryman League Premier Division and are currently top of the Blue Square South following their promotion.

“Even though we lost against Dover it was a great experience playing a top non-league side on a great pitch. We were disappointed to lose but all things considered, seeing what they have gone on to do, we did alright.”

Long-term absentee Craig Parker will tomorrow be joined on the sidelines by new signing Angelo Harrop who picked up a thigh strain in last Saturday's 2-1 defeat against Leiston.

Meanwhile, there is virtually a full programme of fixtures in the Ridgeons League. In the Premier Division, bottom two Woodbridge Town and Wivenhoe Town meet at Notcutts Park. Both clubs have played four league games so far and, along with Harwich & Parkeston, have failed to register a single point.

Newly-promoted Debenham LC will be looking to continue their fantastic start to the new campaign at home against Ely City. Mel Aldis' side have dropped just five points from a possible 15 so far and find themselves fifth in the early league table.

Felixstowe & Walton United, who have won two and lost two, host CRC, while Hadleigh United, another newly-promoted outfit, will be hoping to add to their tally of five points when they welcome Harwich & Parkeston,

In Division One, Whitton travel to Fakenham, Stowmarket host Thetford, while Ipswich Wanderers are at Team Bury.

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