WE’RE HEADING FOR YOU: Ipswich Wanderers skipper David Head hoping to use previous FA Cup success with Leiston to stun high-flying Ryman Premier Division outfit Wingate & Finchley this weekend
Having experienced considerable FA Cup success with Leiston back in 2008, current Ipswich Wanderers skipper David Head cannot wait to lead his side out at Ryman Premier Division Wingate & Finchley in the First Qualifying Round of the prestigious competition tomorrow.
Wanderers will be in for a tough test against opponents from two leagues above on Saturday, especially away from home, but in Head, they have the perfect person to look up to in terms of upsetting the odds.
In season 2008/09, a miraculous fairytale run from Leiston, then playing in the Eastern Counties Premier Division (the league Wanderers compete in now), saw them progress all the way to the First Round Proper of the competition - where they were eventually knocked out by then Conference North side Fleetwood Town, who triumphed 2-0 at Highbury Stadium in a replay after Leiston had held them to a 0-0 draw at Victory Road.
And Head, a leader wherever has been, was Leiston’s captain for this run which also saw them record a famous 3-1 away victory over then Conference Premier side Lewes in the Fourth Qualifying Round.
“I have some good, good memories of the FA Cup with Leiston,” added Head.
“Getting to the First Round Proper and playing at Fleetwood was incredible but also doable again as well.
“You build momentum along the way, and if you get a good run going you can go really far.”
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Head certainly has confidence that Wanderers can cause an upset against fourth-placed Ryman Premier outfit Wingate on Saturday.
“It’ll be a tough game for us - Ryman football is totally different. I played at Wingate last season and they’re a big physical team but our boys will stand up to that.
“They might be a bit complacent with us coming from two leagues below so you never know - if we can get Wingate out of the way we’ll build that momentum.”
Wanderers beat Hoddesdon Town 2-1 in the previous round of this competition, and all in all it’s been an impressive start to life in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division for Glenn Read’s men, who achieved promotion from the First Division last campaign.
“We’ve started alright so far,” said Head, with Wanderers sitting in seventh position in the table as things stand - with Saturday’s narrow 2-1 away defeat to Norwich United their only loss so far.
“I think Glenn’s been a little surprised at how we’ve started. He said to us in pre-season that he’d be pleased with mid-table consolidation but from what I’ve seen, I think we can push a bit further - maybe towards the top six.”
Having returned closer to home in the summer, Head, 35, is enjoying life back at this level and life back at where he first started - Humber Doucy Lane.
“I’m really enjoying it here,” declared Head. It’s a lovely little club with a top bunch of lads - you’re always happier when you’re winning but I like the people and the place has a great buzz to it. It’s a competitive league, it’s difficult to compare what it used to be like when I played in it previously - there are a few lads like myself who have dropped down, but it’s competitive - we’ve found that out but we’ve held our own so far.”
Deployed in a previously unfamiliar central midfield role so far, Head, a centre-half by trade, admits that he is relishing the challenge of his new position.
He added: “It’s a bit different!
“I’m enjoying it in there - I’m playing the holding role in a 4-5-1 formation. It gives me a bit more of a role, and a bit more running but I’ve got Luke Read, who is a good player, and Darius Laws floating about in there with me as well.”