Blow for Needham as former Ipswich Town defender Ian Miller returns to Braintree Town

Ian Miller has returned to Braintree

Ian Miller has returned to Braintree - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Needham Market manager Mark Morsley has been dealt a blow with experienced centre-half Ian Miller returning to Braintree Town.

Mark Morsley

Mark Morsley - Credit: Su Anderson

Former Ipswich Town, Darlington, and Cambridge United defender Miller, 31, only signed dual-registration forms at Bloomfields last week.

But following a string of injuries at Cressing Road, Miller’s short-term future looks to be in Essex, although Morsley hasn’t ruled out a return.

“It’s very disappointing for us,” admitted Morsley, whose side welcome Hampton & Richmond Borough in league action today.

“Braintree have had around five or six injuries and Ian has been called back immediately.

“We felt like he was a player who could help us, after not being match fit (Miller underwent a knee operation in the summer) for Braintree’s level (National League) just yet.

“I had a chat with Ian and Danny Cowley (the Braintree boss) and the lad wants to play National League football if he can – fair play to him.”

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Morsley continued: “I won’t say that we won’t be seeing him again.

“At the end of the day, he’s played one game in the Ryman Premier and one game in the League Cup this season, and now he’s off to play Lincoln in the National League.

“We’ll see what happens.”

Miller was in Needham colours on Tuesday evening as the Suffolk side bowed out of the Alan Turvey Trophy at the hands of Brightlingsea Regent, who were worthy 3-1 winners.

“It was a strange game,” admitted Morsley, who saw Colchester United loanee Callum Harrison sent off for two bookable offences five minutes into the second half.

“We started well, but they came back – and fair play to them, they deserved it.

“We missed a penalty, hit the bar, hit the post, and ended the game with nine men after Keiran Morphew couldn’t continue, but it’s the League Cup after all.

“I can’t get excited about that. I think it’s a great competition for the mid-table teams and I think the way they (Brightlingsea) played was unfair on their manager.

“If they worked and played as well as they did against us week in, week out, they’d win that league!”

Needham’s attentions now revert to the League, as they host form side Hampton & Richmond Borough at Bloomfields this afternoon.

“It’ll be tough for us,” continued Morsley.

“But every game is tough for us, that’s why we’re at this level.

“They smashed Merstham 6-1 in midweek, but I do think we are a more solid unit now.

“We drew at Burgess Hill, beat Lewes, and lost by the odd goal at Brentwood and Met Police.

“We’ve been better defensively in the last two or three games and it’s important we maintain that.”

Another issue Morsley values as important is Needham’s support base, especially at home.

He said: “The fans were fantastic at home to Lewes, they made a lot of noise and we want more of it.

“They’ve (the fans) had two years watching us play great football and achieve a lot of success, but this is a very different challenge for us.

“It’s too easy to be negative and criticise – it’s about believing and supporting our players.”