Haverhill Borough could be forced to play a potential Suffolk FA Senior Cup final within 24 hours of their league season finishing, it has emerged — but manager Martin Wescott insists he would not complain if that did happen.
The bizarre fixture clash only emerged on Tuesday after it was announced Suffolk FA are set to break with tradition to hold seven of their eight county cup finals out of Suffolk’s borders in Essex.
An insistence by Ipswich Town that they can only provide one day to hire their pitch out for the non-league showpiece cup finals — due to factors involving pitch maintenance coupled with an Elton John concert on June 17 — has led to Suffolk FA striking up a new partnership with Colchester United to ensure all eight finals will be played at Football League grounds.
But the Senior Cup final, which Haverhill Borough are targeting glory in ahead of Saturday’s quarter-final at fellow league high-fliers Woodbridge Town (3pm), has been chosen for the only date provided by Ipswich to host at Portman Road, on Sunday, April 30 (2.30pmKO) — under 24 hours after the currently scheduled final round of games (3pmKO).
Despite his third-placed side’s surprise promotion challenge being well on course with nine games to go, Borough boss Westcott says he will not be banging the drum for a last minute change to either competition.
“If we were still lucky enough to still be in the mix for promotion and in a cup final at the end of the season, you will not hear me complaining,” he said.
“Some people would complain but we would not.
“If you are to be a victim of your own success you have to be successful, and it would come down to how you manage that next game.”
He added: “At the end of the day the best teams over 40 games will go up.
“If a team misses out by one point, it is because you are not good enough and you dropped points in September as well as at the end of the season.”
With Borough’s opponents at their Notcutts Park ground, Woodbridge — who are offering free entry to Saturday’s last 16 encounter — also still involved at the top end of the table, a Suffolk FA spokesman said it would be up to the Thurlow Nunn League to rearrange their final day programme, should the finalist come from a team with points to contend for on the final day.
The Thurlow Nunn League’s secretary, Nigel Spurling, said he could not comment on a matter that rested on fixtures, with fixtures secretary David Mayes unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.
Of Saturday’s tie, Westcott said last year’s heartache will serve as a driving force.
“We got knocked out of the semi-finals on penalties in the Suffolk Senior Cup (last season) and that really hurt a lot of the players,” he said.
“It was quite tough to take last year and cups do keep the season alive.
“Obviously we didn’t know we were going to be doing this well in the league, but the cups are really important to us as well.
“It is a nice break from the league, as it were, and we can go and really attack Woodbridge on their ground.
“Woodbridge are outstanding at home and they score a lot of goals.
“We played them recently (3-0 on January 14) and they were below par, so we expect a bigger challenge from them than when we played them at home.”
Luke Clark (groin) is ruled out along with Errol Durrel (work commitments) but Casey Phillips (pictured above) and Aaron Forshaw are both back fit from their respective injuries.