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Newmarket Town hunting place in Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup final

Newmarket Town chairman Kevin Grainger believes that winning this season’s Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup would represent an important step in the club’s three-year plan.

The Jockeys had earmarked the 2020/21 campaign as the one in which they would mount a serious challenge for promotion from the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division.

However, with two sides potentially going up this term and Newmarket currently occupying the second of those spots, there is a chance Michael Shinn’s men could get themselves ahead of schedule.

Newmarket Town FC
Newmarket Town FC

Elevation to Step 4 would be an unexpected yet pleasant bonus for Grainger, but ahead of Tuesday’s home CIC semi-final against lower-league March Town United (7.45pm), he has also highlighted the importance of adding some silverware to the trophy cabinet.

“Putting the club to one side, winning a cup would be important for the group of players and the management in terms of what we are trying to build,” said Grainger, who was in charge when Newmarket last lifted a trophy in 2014.

“Our league position is great and it means we are a bit ahead of where we thought we would be.

“There is a three-year plan to get promoted and if that ends up happening sooner, then that would be great. But if we finish third or fourth and win the cup, that would also be a positive.

“As a group it would show the mentality they have and it would set us up well for next season.

“The final is going to be against a higher-league club (Soham Town Rangers or Cambridge City at Cambridge United’s ground) so that would also give us some idea about where we are.

“But we have to get there first of course. March are going well in their league and it will be a tough game.”

Before that match-up, Newmarket will host Woodbridge Town on Saturday at the Tristel Stadium (3pm) having seen their five-match unbeaten run ended at Brantham Athletic last weekend.

Michael Brothers and Josh Lee were on target for hosting Brantham, while Newmarket’s misery was compounded by the red card handed to defender Joe Robinson, who will now miss the next three games through suspension.

Grainger said: “It was just one of those days. James Seymour pulled out just before kick off with a hamstring injury and Shinny has also got a bad hamstring.

“We have had a good run with injuries recently but we were down to the bare bones a bit on Saturday – we only had one on the bench.

“When Joe Robinson got sent off it left us without a recognised centre-back, so all in all you just chalk it up as a bad day at the office and try to bounce back quickly.”

While Newmarket are riding high in second, the visiting Woodpeckers – with just one win from their last six outings in all competitions – sit in ninth position.