Sears: Pitch gives Sudbury an advantage in FA Cup clash

Freddie Sears has signed for Colchester United

Freddie Sears and Colchester United will travel to AFC Sudbury in the FA Cup First Round - Credit: Colchester United

Carl Marston talks to Colchester United's leading scorer, Freddie Sears, ahead of the FA Cup tie at AFC Sudbury tomorrow night...

Colchester United's leading scorer, Freddie Sears, insists that playing on AFC Sudbury's Third Generation (3G) pitch will be "no problem" when the two clubs meet in a mouth-watering FA Cup first round clash.

Ex-Ipswich Town front-runner Sears, who has bagged five goals already for the League Two U's this season, concedes that AFC Sudbury will have a slight advantage playing on their own surface at King's Marsh (the MEL Group Stadium).

Sudbury were the first Suffolk club to use a 3G surface as their main pitch, when it was installed back in 2015.

But the 31-year-old is relishing the challenge.

"The 3G pitch is not a problem," explained Sears.

"We are not used to playing on it, but we've trained on it (such surfaces) and we have played on it as kids.

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"It's a bit different now. We are not as used to it because we play on grass, and we train on grass a lot, but when I was 15 or 16 I used to train on these 3G pitches every night.

AFC Sudbury players (yellow) prepare to attack from another corner routine, although Deeping Rangers

AFC Sudbury play on a 3G pitch - Credit: Archant

"So there won't be any excuses, though obviously it does give them (AFC Sudbury) a slight advantage going into this game because they play on it every week and they train on it as well.

"It's a game we are looking forward to. We want to win and get into the next round, and then the third round after that," added Sears.

Ex-West Ham trainee Sears chalked up 34 goals in 218 first-team outings for Ipswich, between 2015 and the end of last season, following his switch from Colchester for £100,000.

Back at the U's since June, when signing a two-year deal on a free transfer, Sears goes into Friday night's fixture game bang in form, having scored in back-to-back games against Sutton United (3-1 home defeat) and Scunthorpe United (2-1 home win last weekend).

But he admits that AFC Sudbury, who are riding high in fourth slot in the Step 4 Isthmian League North, are an unknown quantity.

"I have played Sudbury in a pre-season friendly, but I don't know any of their players," revealed Sears.

"However, I know their (joint) manager, Angelo Harrop, and our analysts will look at them this week and I'm sure we will get more of an idea of who we are coming up against.

"It's a great game for everyone, I think it makes it that little bit more special when its a local derby as well.

Even manager AFC Sudbury boss Rick Andrews joins the celebrations for Lewis O'Malley's match-clinching goal against Dartford

Even manager AFC Sudbury boss Rick Andrews joins the celebrations for Lewis O'Malley's match-clinching goal against Dartford - Credit: Paul Voller

"For Sudbury its a great draw, and for us it's a good draw as well.

"With West Ham, I got to the quarter-finals, when we lost to Stoke (2011). That's the furthest I've been in the competition.

"But I know what it's like to lose to non-league opposition as well - I lost at Chelmsford (3-1 in 2012) when I was at Colchester before.

"I've been to Hartlepool with West Ham and won, but I've also played for West Ham and lost similar games.

"It's the FA Cup. You go to such places and win, and you go to places and sometimes lose. That's why it's such a special competition.

"It's the one cup competition which everyone is really interested in, and whatever league you are in - like Marine beating Colchester last season (in the first round on penalties, after a 1-1 draw) and went on to play Spurs - you can play anyone in this competition.

Colchester Uniteds Luke Chambers during the pre-season friendly match at the JobServe Community Stad

Fellow ex-Ipswich Town old boy Luke Chambers could also be in action against Sudbury - Credit: PA

"There's always a lot of changes in the Carabao Cup, but this is a real competition that people want to win and progress, and there's always a great story. You grow up as a kid watching the FA Cup.

"I think you can feel even more excited playing in the Cup, than in the league week in, week out. For me, we could end up getting West Ham in the third round, and that would be great to go back to West Ham.

"You could play Man City or Liverpool, and you can't really do that in many competitions.

"Not just us, but Sudbury could also play West Ham; Sudbury could play Man City. That's why it is so special," added Sears.

Freddie Sears pictured during the FA Cup defeat against Portsmouth. Picture: Steve Waller

Freddie Sears in action for Ipswich Town - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller


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