Parker could prove trump card in Vase

PUBLISHED: 12:00 05 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:58 04 March 2010

NEEDHAM Market could have a trump card tomorrow when they play St Neots in the third round of the FA Vase at Bloomfields.

Last season's semi-final finalists have missed Craig Parker since he suffered a cruciate ligament injury eight months ago.

NEEDHAM Market could have a trump card tomorrow when they play St Neots in the third round of the FA Vase at Bloomfields.

Last season's semi-final finalists have missed Craig Parker since he suffered a cruciate ligament injury eight months ago.

He has been involved three times after starting on the bench recently and is earmarked to make his first start for eight months against United Counties League opposition.

Needham manager Danny Laws is glad to have Parker back saying: “I believe he is the best player in the Ridgeons League.

“Having him back is a big bonus as he scored 32 goals last season from just over 40 matches before his injury.”

Needham are looking to reach the last 32 of the Vase for the third time in four seasons.

This is the third time this season they have played United Counties opposition having already beaten Yaxley in the FA Cup and Northampton Spencer in the previous round of this competition.

Laws has asked for home supporters to turn out in force for a game that starts at 3pm and get behind the team as they did in the last round.

“Our supporters were excellent and really got behind the lads,” said Laws.

“We will need more of that tomorrow as St Neots are the best supported team in their league and are bringing two coach loads of fans with them.”

For Step Five clubs like Needham the Vase gives a realistic chance of playing at Wembley Stadium in the final. Last spring they slipped up at the final hurdle going down to eventual winners Kirkham and Wesham (now AFC Fylde) in the semi-final.

Needham have a full squad to pick from with the exception of Tommy Smith who is still suspended.

After Leiston's magnificent run in the FA Cup, Carl Chenery's side are rated one of the favourites to win the Vase, and they also have a home tie - against Aylesbury Vale, from mid-table in the Spartan South Midlands League.

If any side deserves to get to a big final it is Leiston although with bad weather and a heavy cup schedule their league programme has been severely restricted and will ensure a hectic first half of 2009.

Last season's beaten finalists Lowestoft Town take on Spartan South Midlands League leaders Harefield United at Crown Meadow, who like Lowestoft have lost only one league match this season.

In the Ridgeons League, Debenham Leisure Centre visit Cornard tonight in the First Division with leaders Hadleigh visiting Downham tomorrow.

The Premier Division sees Glen Driver's Felixstowe and Walton United at home to Histon Reserves where they should attract a good ground against the second string of last weekend's FA Cup giant-killers.

Whitton United travel to a Harwich and Parkeston side now in the capable hands of former AFC Sudbury and Needham boss Mark Morsley.

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