Suffolk youngsters have done homework

SUFFOLK'S under-18 side will be looking to make it two FA County Youth Cup titles in three years when they take on West Riding at Bradford City's Valley Parade ground tomorrow.

SUFFOLK'S under-18 side will be looking to make it two FA County Youth Cup titles in three years when they take on West Riding at Bradford City's Valley Parade ground tomorrow.

The county side, managed by Andy Gould, travelled up this morning with an 18-men squad which will visit the ground, now known as the Intersonic Stadium, before training at Bradford's Academy ground.

Gould said: “I'm really pleased with the preparations that are being made for the game, everyone is really looking forward to it. If we play well and to our capabilities then we can definitely win this.

“I've had them (West Riding) watched and spoken to some contacts in the north east from teams that have played against them, so I know what system they are likely to play. We've certainly done our homework.”

Suffolk have won four rounds on the way to the final, beating Oxfordshire at home (4-3aet), Guernsey at home (4-2), Sussex away (1-0) and Surrey away (2-1).

In that run, Nathan Szyszlyk scored twice in an earlier round and the all-important winner in the quarter-final, however Suffolk will be without the super-sub, who travels with a groin strain. Gould said: “He's a big loss. Most of Nathan's appearances come off the bench but he has made quite a big impact.”

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When Suffolk won this competition for the first time in 53 years in 2005, Gould was assistant to the current Needham Market manager Danny Laws.

Gould continued: “This is a group of players we have known will be good for a number of years and, while it sounds silly to say this at 18 years-old, they do already have a great deal of experience. A lot of the lads have played against the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea's academies, while a good seven or eight have played Ryman League football or Ridgeons Premier League at least this year.

“In fairness, we have beaten Sussex and Surrey, who were both very strong and both would have perceived themselves as favourites for those games. We are mentally strong and have a strong spine to the side with a big goalkeeper, very competent centre-backs, a good midfield pairing and two strong forward players. We are going there well prepared, but expecting a difficult game.

“Obviously, the final was at Portman Road two years ago and it was particularly pleasing to win in that environment but, while it is a privilege to be in the final at a ground like Bradford's, we won't be in awe of the place or the occasion.”

Suffolk squad

Carl Goody (Bury Town), Luke Catchpole (Bury Town), Grant Monaghan (Woodbridge Town), Ryan Foster (Bury Town), Sam Nunn (Capt, Bury Town), Tom Jeal (Bury Town), Scott Chaplin (Bury Town), Stuart Walker (Bury Town), Richard Gammon (Newmarket Town), Shaun Bammant (Bury Town), Ben Seaman (Woodbridge Town), Luke Read (Woodbridge Town), Nathan Szyszlyk (Needham Market), Ashley Sloots (Bury Town), Nathan Clarke (Bury Town), Luke Jones (Bury Town), Sean Thorrold (Bury Town).