Kirkley boss Willis looking forward to Suffolk Premier Cup clash with Ipswich Town

Mark Willis, manager of Kirkley & Pakefield, whose side face Ipswich Town in the Suffolk Premier Cup

Mark Willis, manager of Kirkley & Pakefield, whose side face Ipswich Town in the Suffolk Premier Cup at Walmer Road. - Credit: Archant

Playing Kirkley & Pakefield will be very different to what Ipswich Town’s youngsters are used to, writes Nick Garnham.

So says Kirkley & Pakefield manager Mark Willis whose side face Ipswich Town in the first of this season’s Suffolk Premier Cup Quarter-Finals at Walmer Road tomorrow night, kick-off 7.45pm.

The two teams last met in the competition in October 2016, when Ipswich Town won 5-1.

Willis said: “We are looking forward to having them back here as it is good to get young pros come and play against us and it makes a change from the adult (Thurlow Nunn) league we play in.

“It will be a good challenge for them and also for our own young players, and with the blend of experience and youth we have it should be a good game.”

Willis said as a manager he enjoyed the challenge of pitting his wits against a professional side.

He said: “It is always a good experience to test yourself.

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“I am sure our style of football, which has been very effective for us this season, will be very different to what they are used to, and it will be interesting to see how they handle the way we play.

“When we played them before they played out from the back and were good on the ball in tight areas. We expect them to be well drilled and to retain possession of the ball and make it difficult for us and I am sure they will have some exceptional young talent on show.”

Kirkley will be without at least three players – long-term injury victim Liam Harvey-Cooper, Jordan Haverson and Matthew Wilson.

Harvey-Cooper had a knee operation a couple of weeks ago, Haverson is recovering from a head injury and Wilson has not played since before Christmas after fainting during a game.

Willis added: “We have had injuries and unavailability to contend with all season, but other players have stepped up and done a good job for us.

“We will possibly have players missing, but hopefully those that come in will do the job required of them and we can get a positive result.”

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