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Needham Market forward Luke Ingram eager to be on the front foot against National League side Yeovil Town



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Luke Ingram is well aware his Needham Market side will be big underdogs at Yeovil Town tomorrow (3pm).

However, the forward has insisted the Marketmen have no intention of parking the proverbial bus when they arrive at Huish Park for what is a Buildbase FA Trophy fourth round tie.

Needham head to Somerset full of confidence after seeing off another Vanarama National League outfit – Wealdstone – in the previous round of the competition.

Luke Ingram and his Needham Market team-mates celebrate with supporters after their victory against Wealdstone. Picture: Mecha Morton
Luke Ingram and his Needham Market team-mates celebrate with supporters after their victory against Wealdstone. Picture: Mecha Morton

It was a deserved 2-1 victory on the day for Kevin Horlock’s men at Bloomfields, one in which they took the game to their opposition from two leagues higher, particularly during the first half.

And Ingram feels Needham’s hopes of pulling off another giant killing will be best served by adopting a similar approach.

“When we played Wealdstone we pressed them high and had a right good go at it,” said the former Bury Town player.

The Marketmen will be looking to knock a second National League side out of the competition. Picture: Mecha Morton
The Marketmen will be looking to knock a second National League side out of the competition. Picture: Mecha Morton

“It worked out well and although I expect Yeovil to be a better side, we’ve got to go there and try to do the same sort of things.

“We’re a good attacking side that likes to play football. I don’t think it suits us to go there, park the bus and try to grind out a 1-0 win.

“We can go there and enjoy it. They’re a National League side, they’re expected to win and in many ways it’s a free hit.

“The pressure is on them so hopefully we can play with a bit of freedom and take the game to them.”

The forward celebrates his goal in the previous round of the competition. Picture: Mecha Morton
The forward celebrates his goal in the previous round of the competition. Picture: Mecha Morton

Ingram was on target in the Wealdstone victory, showing good composure just before half-time to put Needham 2-0 up.

He has found the net on 11 occasions in all competitions, having been moved into a more central attacking role by Horlock following the departure of Billy Hunt earlier in the campaign.

Predominantly a winger up until that point, it has taken the 29-year-old some time to adjust to the new role.

But he feels more comfortable now and is looking forward to pitting himself against the Yeovil back-line.

He said: “I fancy a goal! Kev asked me to play up front when Billy left and I was a little bit apprehensive at first. I wasn’t sure I could do it because all I’ve ever really done is played on the wing but I’ve enjoyed becoming a number nine.

“I feel like I’m improving up there but with players like Fowkesy (Ben Fowkes) and Pagey (Callum Page) weighing in with goals, I don’t feel a massive burden with being the striker.

“It might be a case of getting just one chance on Saturday and you’ve got to be ready to take it. It’s a big test but I’m up for it.”

The 500-mile round trip promises to be a big occasion for everyone of a Needham persuasion.

Now in his eighth season with the club, Ingram is delighted the players have been able to deliver such a day for the supporters and volunteers, as well as also believing that it is just reward for a squad that sacrifices plenty to play in the Pitching In Southern League Premier Central.

“I joined Needham when Mark Morsley joined and it’s still the same people at every single game,” he added.

“Those people really deserve a game like this, just as much as the players do.

“It’s really good for us players. A lot of people don’t see all of the travelling we do, going up and around Birmingham on a Tuesday night.

“We’ve got some very good players and I’m sure they could drop down a level, earn more money and have less travelling.

“But it’s a good group that want to play as high as we can. This game is a reward for a lot of the sacrifices we make.”

* Needham go into the tie following an entertaining couple of outings in the league, from which they picked up four points to lie 13th.

Goals from Harvey Sayer, Kyle Hammond and Callum Page earned a 3-3 draw at home with Hednesford Town on Saturday, while on Tuesday Horlock’s team won 3-2 at Alvechurch. Sayer and Page were again on target along with match-winner Jose Santa.

On Tuesday they return to league duty at current sixth-placed AFC Rushden & Diamonds (7.45pm).