Hoxne aiming to spring a surprise at Portman Road

FINAL COUNTDOWN: AFC Hoxne players will be hoping they can create more happy memories when they take on Henley Athletic in the Suffolk Junior Cup final at Portman Road next Tuesday

FINAL COUNTDOWN: AFC Hoxne players will be hoping they can create more happy memories when they take on Henley Athletic in the Suffolk Junior Cup final at Portman Road next Tuesday

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AFC Hoxne manager Jamie Scales says he may have a trick or two up his sleeve for their Suffolk Junior Cup final on Tuesday night (7pm).

Hoxne take on their Touchline Suffolk and Ipswich League (SIL) Division One rivals Henley Athletic at Ipswich Town’s Portman Road next week, and Scales is hoping for a reverse in fortunes from their previous meetings this season.

“We’ve actually played Henley four times already this season,” the Hoxne boss said.

“We played them twice in the league, once in the Bob Coleman Cup and again in the league, which was abandoned after 75 minutes.

“In three of those games Henley beat us and it was 0-0 in the abandoned game. So they’ve got the upper-hand on us at the moment, but when we’ve played them I’ve never once had a full-strength side.

“We’ll have everyone available for the final so I’m hoping we’ll have one or two tricks up our sleeve to pull out.”

After beating Spexhall Huntsman and Hounds 4-1 in the Junior Cup semi-finals in March, Hoxne saw their league campaign falter as they picked up just three wins from their final nine games.

Scales’ side, who were promoted from Division Two as champions last season, finished fourth in Division One, a place behind their cup final opponents Henley in third.

It has been a remarkable rise for the Suffolk village side, who only five years ago were relegated into Division Three of the SIL pyramid.

“It has been a really good season,” Scales said. “Personally I’ve always been a league man and have rotated the side in the cups in order to do well in the league.

“But when we got to the final I saw the way the players reacted. The buzz around the players is incredible.

“It’s an amateur final but for them it’s their World Cup final!”

AFC will be well-supported by the village next week, with a crowd in excess of 600 anticipated, while the club’s transport for the final has been kindly sponsored for by Minister Cleaning Services.

n Follow @lalmoss20 on Twitter for live updates of Tuesday’s Junior Cup final.