‘Chance to show what we can do’

AFC Sudbury v Dulwich Hamlet - Sam Clarke celebrates his goal ANL-160814-104827009
AFC Sudbury v Dulwich Hamlet - Sam Clarke celebrates his goal ANL-160814-104827009

Sam Clarke has urged his AFC Sudbury team-mates to play with freedom when they host Gosport Borough in The Buildbase FA Trophy on Saturday (3pm).

Visiting Borough ply their trade a level higher than the Yellows in the Vanarama National League South, where they currently sit in 13th position with 20 matches on the board.

Their Step Two status makes the visitors favourites to prosper in the first-round clash at The Wardale Williams Stadium, which skipper Clarke believes could work in his team’s favour.

“It is a big occasion for the club and one it will hopefully benefit financially from,” he said.

“This is the sort of game that as players you want to be playing in.

“Everybody outside of our camp will be expecting them to win, so the shackles are off and we can express ourselves.

“The only pressure is the pressure we put on ourselves. It is a real chance for the boys to show what we can do.”

Sudbury reached the second round qualifying stage last season — a run that saw them knock out higher-league Hendon thanks to an early goal from Craig Parker.

And Clarke feels that despite having moved up a level since then, being able to evoke the spirit of the underdog remains a key part of the team’s make-up.

“We are a little bit notorious for being able to up our game against sides from a higher league,” added the midfielder.

“I think the lads get a buzz from these matches and it seems to reflect in our performances.

“The Trophy is a big FA competition and upsets happen all the time. We have done it before, so we can do it again.

“Moving up a league (to the Ryman League Premier Division), we have had to improve physically and the game is much more demanding — that will hold us in good stead against Gosport.”