Blues ready for Marine battle

Lowestoft Town first team coach Craig Fleming believes the Blues will have to be at their best to dispose of cup specialists Swindon Supermarine in the FA Trophy third qualifying round at Crown Meadow this afternoon.

Lowestoft are determined to mount a run in the competition and reach the first round proper when Conference Premier sides enter but today's visitors, nicknamed Marine, have shown themselves to have excellent pedigree in cup competitions so far this season.

The Wiltshire-based side are set to face Colchester United in the second round of the FA Cup next weekend but Fleming paid short shrift to suggestions they may have one eye on this glamour tie ahead of today's match.

'I don't think they will be thinking about that,' said the former Norwich City defender. 'In fact I think it will help them. Having been in that situation myself, I think there will be a real buzz around their club as a result of their run in the FA Cup.

'That could make it even tougher for us and we're going to have to be at the top of our game. But we're always confident that if we do our jobs properly then we will get a result.

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'We've had a couple of decent results in the competition so far and we're looking to continue that run.'

Marine currently sit mid-table in the Zamaretto Premier League, step three of the non league pyramid, and if the tie finishes level then there will be a replay at Swindon on Wednesday evening, with the Blues' league match at home to Billericay postponed.

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The Blues management team have a number of decisions to make over the starting XI after several fringe players impressed during the club's 2-0 win against AFC Sudbury in the Championship Manager Cup.

Andrew Fisk has completed his three-match suspension after his sending off against Hastings and is expected to be restored to the starting line-up while Dale Cockrill could also get a look-in.

Joe Clark impressed as a substitute on Tuesday evening and Fleming believes the young forward has got a promising future in the game.

'He has got bags of pace and has scored a lot of goals for the reserves,' added Fleming. 'We've had to be a bit careful with him this season as he was suffering from shin splints at the start of the campaign but he certainly looks like one for the future.'

Andy Reynolds is expected to be restored to the starting line-up in preference to Ipswich Town loanee Ian McLoughlin but Fleming expressed his thanks to Roy Keane letting the young goalkeeper get some competitive action.

'I would like to thank Roy Keane and Ipswich Town for the loan of Ian McLoughlin at a time when we needed to bring in another goalkeeper.

'I think the move has satisfied all parties involved – it's been great for Andy Reynolds to have some more competition as it often brings out the best in players and the lad himself has got some competitive action.

'We will have a sit down over the next couple of weeks to see if it is something that we want to extend but whatever happens hopefully he can go back to Portman Road a better player from his time with Lowestoft.'

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