Brady Stone has urged his Ely City side to embrace the tag of the underdog during Monday evening’s Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup final, just as they have done on several occasions already this season, writes Liam Apicella.
Cambridge City, who operate two divisions higher than The Robins in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division, will be the favourites to triumph when the two teams walk out at the Cambs Glass Abbey Stadium (7.30pm).
However, Ely have made a habit of causing upsets this term — a trait that helped them to reach the last 16 of The Buildbase FA Vase for the first time in the club’s history.
And Stone has encouraged his charges to rediscover some of that spirit at the home of Cambridge United.
“When we are underdogs and the pressure is off, that is when we play our best stuff,” said the boss.
“You only have to look at our results against the top teams in the league and in the Vase to see that.
“We have nothing to lose so it is a case of going out there and enjoying ourselves.
“It is great for the lads to play at The Abbey. They deserve a cup final for all their efforts this year.”
With an almost fully fit squad to pick from, Stone is likely to have a few selection headaches on the night.
One player that is set to start, though, is striker Sam Reed, who joined Ely in January from Bury Town.
The forward has gone on to become a key player for the club, scoring five goals in 16 outings, and Stone is hoping to retain his services for next term.
“Sam has had a massive impact here, both on and off the pitch,” added Stone.
“He brings so much experience with him and has talked a lot on the pitch, which has been a big help to the young lads in the group. We need more leaders like Sam.
“I want to keep him and we have already had a chat.
“He is going to think about it over the summer, but he is really enjoying his time here so hopefully that works in our favour.”