FA Cup brings Cambridge United return for Needham Market player

Needham Market defender Darryl Coakley says facing former employers Cambridge United in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round this weekend is the ideal game.

Coakley, 22, was released by the U's two years ago after 12 appearances.

"That was the draw I was after. My dad had said to me the night before 'bring on Cambridge United'," he told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.

"I thought it wouldn't happen. I always look to see how they're doing and they're flying at the moment."

FA Cup fourth qualifying round

Sixty four non-league clubs will be battling it out for a place in the first round proper, when teams from League One and League Two join the competition

Coakley was released by Ipswich Town at the age of 16 and joined the Cambridge academy, going on to make his senior debut in the Conference Premier in 2009.

But he was unable to cement his place as first-choice left-back, and after his release by the U's played for Bury Town, Biggleswade and Mildenhall.

He joined the Marketmen in the Ryman League Division One North this season, and after reaching the fourth qualifying round, the team that dispensed of his services two years ago stand between himself and a place in the first round proper.

"I didn't want my release to happen. I was disappointed when it did," he said.

"But I did have an inkling that it might be the case. I'm only 22, so there's still plenty of time for me to try and realise my ambitions."

The U's travel to Suffolk, Coakley's home county, unbeaten and top in the Conference Premier, while Needham have lost just the once.

"We are massive, massive underdogs. But anything can happen in the Cup," said Coakley.

"We'll look to play the way we have all season."