Chris Tracey has challenged his Cornard United players to alter people’s perception of the club when they take on Haughley United in the semi-final of the Suffolk Senior Cup on Saturday afternoon (3pm).
In recent years, the Ards have been virtual ever-presents in the bottom two of the Thurlow Nunn League First Division.
However, there have been signs since Tracey was appointed last August that a change is in the offing.
A run of just four defeats from their last 12 outings has seen Cornard rise up the table, putting 15 points between themselves and second from bottom Team Bury.
And, with a place in a Portman Road final up for grabs, Tracey insisted that his side have the perfect opportunity to show they are no longer a laughing stock.
“It is enormous. I have lived in the area for 20 years and everyone knows where Cornard tend to finish up,” he said.
“When you say that you are involved with Cornard, people turn their nose up, sneer or just laugh.
“But a lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes to keep the club going over the last two years.
“Now we have a chance to make sure we keep moving in the right direction.
“If we can reach the final, it will raise the profile of the club and start to alter the perception as well.”
Standing in Cornard’s way at Haverhill Rovers’ New Croft ground will be a Haughley team that have lost just once since the start of February, picking up seven victories in the process.
The Suffolk & Ipswich League, in which Haughley sit sixth, is a step below where Cornard currently ply their trade.
Nevertheless, Tracey stressed there is no danger of his men taking their opposition lightly.
“I was involved at that level last year and know that it is a very, very good standard,” added the former AFC Sudbury defender.
“I know from speaking to people that they are a hard-working side and they knocked out Crane in the last round, which is a great result.
“From our point of view we need to play with the same belief we have shown in recent weeks.
“If we can do that, then we have every chance of getting through.”
Should Cornard prosper, they will face Waveney at the home of Ipswich Town on Thursday, May 19 (7.45pm).