BRANTHAM Athletic joint-manager Matt Carmichael insists his players are relishing the challenge of fighting on three fronts.

The Imps are pushing for promotion in the Thurlow Nunn League premier division but also still going strong in the League Cup and Suffolk Premier Cup.

They are through to the quarter-finals of both knockout competitions and host Coggeshall Town in the former next Tuesday (kick-off 7.45pm).

They then switch their attention to the county cup on February 13, when they welcome Bury Town to the Leisure Centre.

Carmichael insists the prospect of silverware is a welcome distraction, rather than an unwanted one, and said: “It’s a different type of pressure.

“We’re very focused on our push for promotion but it’s intense and can be draining.

“First we were playing catch-up, trying to break into the top four, and then we were up there with the likes of Coggeshall and Stowmarket.

“Maybe the pressure got to us a little last weekend but a cup run feels completely different.

“It’s a different type of pressure and a different mindset, which the boys are really enjoying.

“Everyone wants to win cups, whether you’re a professional, at our level, playing in a five-a-side competition or on a Sunday morning.

“That’s what we’re in it for and we’d love to get to at least one cup final.

“It goes without saying that if we could win one of the cups and finish in the promotion spots, we’d be absolutely delighted. That would make it an amazing season.”

Carmichael won the League Cup as a player, being part of the Halstead Town side that lifted the silverware after beating Histon in 2005.

However, he knows that in order to advance to the semi-finals, his Brantham side will have to be at their best against promotion rivals Coggeshall.

“We know it’ll be tough on Tuesday,” he said.

“Coggeshall arguably have the best squad in the division, but we believe our strongest line-up is as good as any in the league.

“I know we’re capable of giving a good account of ourselves and this Brantham side reminds me of the Halstead team I was part of in 2005.

“There’s a similar sense of togetherness.”

Brantham lost 1-0 at home to Long Melford on Saturday.

It was their first defeat of the year and left them third in the table, a point above Stowmarket but one behind Coggeshall. Both have games in hand on the Imps.

“Melford had a gameplan and stuck to it,” said Carmichael, whose side have a league date at Haverhill Rovers tomorrow (3pm).

“They worked tirelessly and wanted it more.

“But we’re still in a good place and we’re not going to be judged on one bad result.

“(Joint-boss) Michael (Brothers) and myself have been in the job a year and we’ve already surpassed last season’s points total, goals scored and clean sheets so there’s plenty to be positive about.”