AFC Sudbury manager calls for realistic expectations after last season’s Ryman North play-off defeat

Former Bury Town youngster Ross Bailey has signed for AFC Sudbury

Former Bury Town youngster Ross Bailey has signed for AFC Sudbury - Credit: Archant

AFC Sudbury boss Jamie Godbold wants to build on the initial impact he made after joining the club last season, but has issued a cautious message to those who are tipping the west Suffolk club for promotion next season.

The Yellows missed out in the Ryman League Division One North semi-final, losing on penalties at home to Brentwood in April, but ended the regular season on a high with 13 wins from a 18 games following the former Kirkley & Pakefield manager’s arrival in January.

Having so far kept the majority of last season’s squad, and added Ollie Canfer and Ross Bailey to the ranks, AFC will be expected to have another tilt at promotion next term.

However, Godbold, who has lost goalkeeper Marcus Garnham to Lowestoft Town, has urged fans to have realistic expectations and consider a longer-term vision.

“We have lost Kris Newby and another player may go over the weekend, having initially committed himself to the club,” said the former Lowestoft Town player.

“In terms of where we are compared to last season, we have got a lot of young lads and a few more experienced players may leave, so it is all about managing expectations.

“Promotion would be nice and it will come one day but looking long-term we have an academy of passionate young players, who will need time.”

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Expanding on the role of the academy at the Wardale Williams Stadium, Godbold added: “There are a few differences from last year and we will be starting out with quite a few more 16-17 year-olds, whereas last year we started an under-21s team with quite a few 18 and 19-year-olds.

“It might take six months or a year for these younger lads to settle down, but I would imagine they will make my job easier when it comes to recruiting new players in the long-term.”

Along with the burgeoning academy, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic at the club next season and despite playing down AFC’s chances, Godbold is delighted to have secured the futures of several key players.

Club captain Sam Clarke has agreed to stay on at the club, as have Ryan Henshaw, James Baker, Kyran Clements, Stefano Mallardo, Jordan Blackwell, Ollie Berquez, Ben Robinson and Marcus Garnham.

Former Witham striker Luke Callander is also in the ranks and has been joined by ex-Hadleigh man Ollie Canfer and Bury Town youngster Bailey.

“I am delighted that people have committed to the club for another year,” revealed Godbold.

“They are important players that have attracted interest from clubs in higher divisions.

“That shows we are doing something right.

“I have had six months to prove myself and, while we were disappointed to lose in the play-offs, I guess I want us to continue the success of last season, especially how we finished in the league.”

Those sentiments will be music to the ears of players like Bailey, who Godbold rates highly.

“He’s got fantastic potential and young, enthusiastic and keen to play.”

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