Graham Richards is aiming to put his Sudbury side back where they belong and end the club’s long trophy drought with Suffolk Cup glory.
After waiting several years for silverware, the 15-time winners of the competition are hoping to finally get their hands back on the cup as they prepare to welcome Eastern Counties One outfit Ipswich YM to Whittome Fields on Saturday (3pm) for the final showdown.
And having enjoyed a promising domestic campaign, sitting strongly in fourth place in London Three North, Richards is keen to end a ‘shallow’ period in the club’s recent history and return them to their rightful as cup champions.
“To win the competition would be fantastic for the club,” he said. “They had a pretty shallow number of years and, for this particular group, it would be just rewards for their efforts.
“It would also allow them to start realising their potential and give us a huge platform to build on.
“I always targeted a top-half finish and refused to get carried away much to the annoyance of some that I didn’t buy into the promotion talk.
“It does bring added pressure being the favourites, but we will take nothing for granted because we know it will be a tough game.
“I still think that could be a couple of years away, but I am certain this group can achieve something truly special.
“We have a lot of history to live up to in this competition but it would be great to see us back where we belong.”
For Richards, the match also holds great significance on a personal level as it represents the chance of a special reunion.
“When I first moved to Suffolk I did some coaching at Ipswich YM and much enjoyed my time at the club,” he added. “It is a proper club with some real good people involved and I only stopped working with them because of other commitments. I made some good friends there and I’m looking forward to having a reunion with them.”
One major issue facing the head coach is the restrictions on key components Austin and Frazer Beckett, whose involvement in the Eastern Counties Under-20s quarter-final encounter against Northumberland just a day later, at the same venue, means they will only be available for half of Saturday’s tie.
However, with the lure of a showpiece final at Twickenham still a strong possibility, Richards has given his backing to the decision.
“Austin and Frazer only being able to play a half will be an issue, but I have a responsibility to both,” he explained. “They are quality players, but they may still have a chance to play at Twickenham come Sunday evening and I have to give them the best chance to do so, we have always been supportive of seeing our players strive.”