Suffolk youths on cusp of cup glory

REVENGE is not on Suffolk manager Andy Gould's mind as his Suffolk side prepares to face West Riding in the semi-final of the FA County Youth Cup tomorrow.

Nick Garnham

With pics of Andy Gould and Luke Read for possible use in easport

By Nick Garnham

REVENGE is not on Suffolk manager Andy Gould's mind as his Suffolk side prepares to face West Riding in the semi-final of the FA County Youth Cup today.

Suffolk lost on penalties in last year's final to today's opponents following a 1-1 draw after extra time at Valley Parade, home of Bradford City FC. However, Gould swiftly dismissed any suggestion of revenge ahead of the match at Woodbridge Town FC, kick-off 1pm.

He said: “We did not enjoy the experience of losing in the final last year, but West Riding were a very nice group of people who conducted themselves in the right manner after the game, so it is not a question of seeking revenge.

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“Besides there will be virtually two different sets of players apart from one or two who featured in the final last year, so I don't anticipate last year's result will have any bearing on the outcome on Saturday.”

Kirkley & Pakefield defender Scott Manning, who missed the 2-1 quarter-final victory over Sussex at East Preston in January through injury, is fit again and included in a 16-man Suffolk squad.

However, Suffolk will be without Woodbridge Town midfielder Luke Read, a used substitute in last year's final, who suffered medial ligament damage to his right knee three weeks ago.

Gould said: “He has been a key player for us throughout the season so it is a blow to lose him at this stage, but I have a great deal of faith in the squad. It is not about just eleven people - it is about a group of players and I have such confidence in them that I have not brought a replacement in as I believe we have enough ability in the squad to cope with his loss.”

Gould admitted he did not know too much about West Riding, who defeated Wiltshire 2-0 at home to reach the last four of this season's competition, but said: “I do not anticipate they will be very different to last year when they were a very hard-working side with a couple of outstanding individuals.”

Gould is fully aware of the prize at stake - the final, against Cambridgeshire, will be at Portman Road should Suffolk win - but is not looking that far ahead.

“Having been given a home draw, if we win it will be a dream for a lot of these lads to not only play at Portman Road, but to do so in a competition of this magnitude. It does not get much better than that.

“But we have taken one game at a time and it has stood us in good stead, so we will only be thinking about that afterwards if we have won.”

Admission to today's game is £2 and £1 for concessions.

Suffolk squad: Luke Bailey (Bury Town), Joe Bloomfield (Felixstowe & Walton Utd), Camillo Douglas (Whitton Utd), Richard Gammon (Newmarket Town), Ben Garnham (Woodbridge Town), Chris Henderson (Kirkley & Pakefield), David Lorimer (Bildeston Rangers), Scott Manning (Kirkley & Pakefield), Stefan Marsh (Woodbridge Town), Nick Middlebrook (Bury Town), Tom Ross (Woodbridge Town), John Sargent (Bury Town), Ben Seaman (Woodbridge Town), Dale Smith (Lowestoft Town), Chris Stacey (Bury Town), James Ward (Stowmarket Town).

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