The FA Cup comes to Walsham today

WALSHAM-le-Willows kick-start their FA Cup campaign against Stowmarket today and the famous trophy will be at the Summer Road ground to remind both sets of players what the competition is all about.

WALSHAM-le-Willows kick-start their FA Cup campaign against Stowmarket today and the famous trophy will be at the Summer Road ground to remind both sets of players what the competition is all about.

Walsham were promoted as champions of Division One of the Ridgeons League last season, while Stowmarket, although finishing 12th in Division One, won the Suffolk Senior Cup.

The Suffolk derby will see Walsham manager Paul Smith up against his former Sudbury teammate Dave Hubbick as the opposition manager.

Smith said: “We go back a few years so I'll be having a few words and a bit of banter with Dave throughout the march I'm sure. That's if he is in the dugout because normally he's banned from the touchline!”

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“Not only is it a cup game, which could prove hugely important financially to us as a club, it is also a local derby which always adds a bit of spice.”

Smith has brought in few new players this summer but is confident his team, who have started the new season with a win at Stanway and a defeat at Woodbridge, can cope with the step up in division.

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He said: “I told my players that they won the league last year and got us her so I would be giving them the chance to prove themselves at this level.”

Elsewhere, after a perfect start to their league campaign Needham Market entertain Lowestoft Town.

League wins against Harwich and Mildenhall Town have put them in good heart with chairman David Bugg full of praise.

He said: “Tuesday's victory was a truly outstanding team performance. Lowestoft will be a tough nut to crack, and they will be looking to get over their midweek defeat at home Wroxham.

“However, home advantage should play a big part. It's important for clubs like ourselves to do well in this competition as the financial rewards are all important these days.”

Needham Market have a full squad to call on apart from the suspended Andy Jones. The winners face a trip to Ipswich Wanderers in the next round.

Hadleigh United have been in the FA Cup for 12 years first losing 1-0 to Romford when Scott Clarke was manager.

They have lost every season since at the first hurdle, and it will be a shock if they break their duck against the current Ridgeons League champions.

Joint Hadleigh manager Steve Jay said: “We will be a match for any team when everyone is fit.”

Whitton United, who hit four in the second half against Hadleigh, and who have recently signed Sam Banya, Simon Hyde and Camillo Douglas, have a Ridgeons League First Division fixture at Ely City. They will be without the injured Daniel Wade and Stuart Crawford.

Long Melford have been boosted prior to the important FA Cup match at Stoneylands against Grantham based Blackstones by the resigning of former player-manager Darren Pratt, who will be in the squad, along with David Thurkettle.

Also included will be the influential Danny Brind, who is back from injury. On the debit side Dave Kenyon will be out with a foot injury, joining Steve Arnold, who is also injured, and the on holiday duo of Ez Durell and Matt Wilson.

Bury Town go into their opening Ryman League Division One North game of the season at Wingate and Finchley today without four players who would have been expected to feature.

In addition to new signing Gavin Johnson, who is still a week away from being match fit, director of football Trevor Collins, who is standing in for Richard Wilkins while the latter is on holiday, has got further selection problems.

Brothers Sam and Lee Reed are not available due to a long standing prior commitment, Danny Cornwell has sustained a head injury which required stitches in an accident, and James Tatham has suffered a recurrence of his troublesome hamstring strain.

So it will mean further opportunities for some of the younger members of the squad to show what they can do.

Some of them have performed well in the pre season friendlies and will be keen to perform at Ryman League level.

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