All-Norfolk final should be a cracker

Tonight's first-ever all-Norfolk Ridgeons First Division Cup final promises to be a cracker.

Leaders Gorleston take on in-form Thetford Town at Brewers Green Lane (7.30pm), and both managers are expecting a thrilling encounter.

The teams have led the form table throughout 2011 with only two defeats in 34 games between them.

'It's a huge game,' said Town manager Mark Scott. 'It's the first time Thetford have been in a cup final for 20 years. We're all getting excited and nerves are starting to kick in.'

Gorleston have also had a long wait to lift a cup. It is ten years since they won the Norfolk Senior Cup and boss Richard Daniels will be happy to learn he has avoided his 'bogey' dressing room.

'I've played three cup finals at Diss and lost them all; every time from the visitors' dressing room.'

But that is where Scott wants his team to emerge from.

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'We've won two cup ties at Diss this season and something as simple as getting the away dressing room could be enough to swing the match,' he said.

And both men have got their wish. Diss Town secretary Steve Flatman, a member of the league's management committee, revealed last night that Gorleston will be the 'home' team with Thetford occupying the visitors' facilities.

The managers are treating the match completely different.

For Scott, it is a chance to lift long-awaited silverware but Daniels admitted the cup is only a bonus, with his focus on confirming a return to the Premier Division after a six-year absence.

'Our big game is on Tuesday when a win against Whitton could see us clinch promotion and that's all we've been aiming for all season.

'The players are obviously up for the cup and the buzz that brings and it looks as if it will be a cracking game.

'I have a great deal of time for the Thetford management, they've done a wonderful job.

'They deserve to be in a final and, had they made a better start to the season, they could have been challenging us at the top.'

Scott, meanwhile, is confident his team can pull off an upset.

'If we play to our full ability we can pull it off. They're going for the double so all the pressure will be on them.'

Honours are even in the league this season, with Gorleston winning 3-0 at Emerald Park and Thetford hitting back with a 3-1 home win.

Thetford will be without central midfielder Sean O'Donnell who has had commitments in Las Vegas recently but is on RAF duty tonight, while Gorleston's only absentee is long-term injury victim Kyle Howell.