AFC must recreate dazzling cup form

Latest sport news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter
Latest sport news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

Captain Sam Clarke believes AFC Sudbury must transfer their dazzling cup form to their Ryman Division One North campaign, if they are to fulfil their promotion ambitions.

The Yellows return to league action on Saturday with a trip to struggling Barkingside (3pm) following narrowly going out of the FA Trophy after a spirited 1-0 first round proper defeat at Vanarama Conference outfit Braintree Town, while they recovered to book their place in the Suffolk Premier Cup semi-final with a 3-1 success over Mildenhall Town on Tuesday.

And having also overcome higher league opposition in Maidstone, Bognor Regis Town and St Neots in a memorable trophy run, Clarke has challenged his side to recreate that form in the league with the club currently sitting in eighth place, three points adrift of Thurrock in the final play-off berth.

“We have played a lot of good teams throughout the trophy run and there is a lot we can take from them,” he said. “The challenge now is to take what we have learnt from that for the league.

“The manager has spoken of playing to the same standard that we have in the cup in the league and that is what we have to do.

“We haven’t taken many points against the sides in and around us in the league and we know we have to apply ourselves in the league now as we have in the cups.”

As well as taking a lot from their cup exploits this season, Clarke believes valuable lessons have been learnt from the previous campaign in which the club narrowly missed out on making the play-off places.

And having added experienced reinforcements in defenders Lee Flynn and Craig Pope, the skipper is confident their influence will prove the key in the crucial run in.

“Missing out on the play-offs was a learning curve for the squad and we have all learnt a lot from it,” he added.

“We have added some experienced players in Lee Flynn and Craig Pope who bring a different mentality.

“They have been promoted in the past which enables players around them to learn a lot and hopefully that will be the difference.”

Manager David Batch will have a fully fit squad for Saturday’s trip, having rested a number of key players, including James Baker and Pope, against Mildenhall Town as they aim to bounce back from successive defeats in the league.

“We managed to rest players which should ensure freshness for Saturday,” he said.

“Barkingside is a tough and challenging place to go, but it is something we have to deal with and make sure we get something from the game.”