With four teams left in the Liverpool FA Senior Cup, Southport Football Club sit as the highest ranked team left after a 1-0 win over Tranmere Rovers in the quarter-final.
We sat down with Alan Jones, a member of the Southport media team, to discuss the cup competition as the Sandgrounders look to win this competition for the first time since 2011.
With Southport sitting two divisions above Prescot Cables and Widnes, and also a whopping four divisions above their semi-final opponents Rylands, you would be forgiven for thinking Southport will be in cruise control in the tournament but Jones disagrees saying: “At the end of the day it is a chance for some silverware and no matter what club you are chances of silverware don’t come around that often.
“In Liam Watson (pictured) we’ve got a manager who has always been keen on the county cup in terms of the mentality it can generate, in terms of getting the players into a winning mindset. It’s Liam’s first season back at Southport and I know he’s keen to get the first piece of silverware on the board.
“In the past when we’ve had successful seasons, they’ve always been kind of included or they’ve always followed County Cup success that’s kind of been the springboard to success,” Alan added. “So, it can play an important part for a club in terms of building that winning mentality that every club wants to look for.”
When Jones looks back on the run to this point, he thinks that the cup has been key to building momentum at Southport.
“We’ve had a couple of good wins,” he said. “Marine was difficult, it is always a difficult test against Marine, but we’ve come through that and then Tranmere again in the last round.
“Tranmere fielded a couple of fringe players, mainly a development squad, but again it’s about getting into that winning mindset really. They were a couple of good wins we’ve got and it complements the league form as well, because after decent results in the league our season’s picked up over the past few months. The county cups kind of help that momentum; keep that momentum going.”
Southport play Rylands in the semi-final on Tuesday (12 March) night; a win putting them one step away from winning the competition for the first time since 2011. When asked to pick out his favourite memory of the Liverpool Senior Cup, Jones points to that night eight years ago when the Sandgrounders beat Everton 2-0 in the final.
“We’ve had a couple of good wins in the cup. We last won it a few years ago I think with Liam Watson as the manager back in 2011. It’s a historic competition, the Liverpool Senior Cup. I think we’ve won it 11 times all together. I think we’re third in the list behind Liverpool and Everton, so as a club we’ve got a good affiliation with it and when you speak to members of staff who’ve been on nights when we’ve won the competition before, they’re always really good nights in terms of bringing the club together.
“The players and the fans can mix in and it is a really good kind of bonding exercise as well as getting an important piece of silverware on the board so these competitions and these kinds of competitions can be really important for the clubs.”
Kick-off for tonight’s Senior Cup semi-final between Rylands and Southport is at 7.45pm at Rylands’ Gorsey Lane ground. With the weather, there will be a pitch inspection planned at 4.30pm on Tuesday 12 March.