Great Yarmouth Town aim to make a big splash in Thurlow Nunn First Division Knockout Cup final
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015
Great Yarmouth Town boss Ricci Butler is urging his players to use the remedy of a cup final triumph to soothe their promotion pain
The Bloaters' hopes of returning to the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division went right down to the wire at the weekend when they took on Saffron Walden Town in a make-or-break fixture. And while the latter could afford to draw in order to go up with champions Long Melford and runners-up Swaffham Town, visiting Yarmouth had to taste victory to snatch third on the last day.
The 1-1 result means another Division One campaign, but Yarmouth have a great chance to get over their heartbreak tonight when they take on AFC Sudbury Reserves in the First Division Knockout Cup final at Woodbridge Town (7.45pm).
Butler said: 'The feeling going into the final could have worked out a couple of ways, irrespective of whether we got promoted or not.
'I just think what we all realised (at Saffron) is we've just got to start the first half much better if we want to win these sort of games. We learned another big lesson too because the lads had to watch another team celebrating.
'I said to the players afterwards, 'Make sure you're not feeling like this on Friday' and I kind of just left it there.
'I've been treating the league and the cup very separately. The big focus was on trying to get promotion and for me getting to the final is just a bonus.
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'We want to win it, of course we do, but it's all about making sure we've also enjoyed the build-up this week and getting the chance to play another game this season.'
After a tough campaign, and that final-day heartache, Butler knew that asking his weary players to train 48 hours later on Monday would be a bridge too far. So he was more than happy to forget about trying to produce liquid football and focused on taking his players to Caldecott Hall's Barn Works Spa near Fritton.
Butler said: 'I think it's something that's a bit more professional, which we're trying to become, and trying to encourage the boys to look after themselves. Swimming can help that massively. It's been a hard season – I did think about training on Monday too – but I wanted them to have the chance to relax and refocus their minds ahead of training on Wednesday. It was a decision I took and the boys lapped it up and enjoyed the night.'
Yarmouth were runners-up in the competition in 2013, losing to Brightlingsea Regent, and haven't got their hands on silverware since becoming Division One champions in 2010.
Sudbury's second-string finished 14th this term, 10 places below their Norfolk opponents.
'I'd be foolish to try and play down the fact that we're fairly comfortable favourites what with our final league positions and us beating them twice,' said the manager, who could be without Kyle Ingram (ankle) but looks set to welcome Darren Cockrill and Luke Goreham back into the fold.
'We've done really well in cup competitions like the Vase this season but we went into those matches as underdogs.
'Tonight's going to be the flip-reverse because there's pressure on us to win it. So for me it's about making sure the players know it's another game of football and they need to try to enjoy it.'