Leiston v Lowestoft Town: Tonight's big Suffolk Premier Cup preview
Whoever wins out of rivals Leiston and Lowestoft Town will be favourites to lift this season's Suffolk Premier Cup, writes Nick Garnham.
So says Lowestoft Town manager Jamie Godbold ahead of tonight’s quarter-final tie between the two clubs at Victory Road, kick-off 7.45pm.
The Evo-Stik League South Premier Division Central duo are the highest-ranked clubs – both play at Step 3 level – left in the competition.
Godbold, who won the Premier Cup five times as a player with Lowestoft, said: “It is a competition that myself and (assistant manager) Andy Reynolds have done well in the past and it is a good competition for us to try to win this season.
“Obviously staying in our league is our priority, but without wishing to look too far ahead giving the supporters a day out at a Portman Road final is something to look forward to.
“While our main aim is the league, we are conscious of the fact we are two games away from the final and it would be nice to win some silverware.
“We are under no illusions that it will be a difficult game and whoever wins will go into the remainder of the competition as favourites to win it.”
Godbold, who won four times as a player at Portman Road and lost just once – 2-0 to Bury Town in 2013 in his 500th and last appearance for The Trawler Boys – said confirmation that the final will be played there this season added an extra incentive to reach the final.
He said: “Playing the final at Portman Road brings an extra edge to the competition. Once you know the final is going to be played there it gives an extra incentive for the players to do well and play on the best pitch in the county as well as for the staff and the supporters.
“I remember playing in my first final for Lowestoft against Sudbury at Felixstowe (Lowestoft won 4-3 in 2001) and while it was great to win, it didn’t feel like a county cup final.”
Lowestoft will be without Jake Reed, who returned to the club from Leiston and is cup-tied, while Kieran Higgs (knee) and Ross Jarvis (hamstring) are both expected to be ruled out by injury.
Leiston won the competition last season, as they beat Mildenhall Town (2-1), Ipswich Town XI (2-1) and Kirkley & Pakefield (3-1) on the way to the final, where two Christy Finch goals and a Matt Blake strike saw Leiston to a 3-0 victory against Bury Town.
Leiston boss Stuart Boardley will still be missing Harry Knights from his line-up but Seb Dunbar is eligible to play in the tie.
Leiston FC will be holding a minute’s silence before the game in memory of 20-year-old Leon Clark, who sadly passed away in a fire on the premises of the LTAA last week.