James Shea thinks Needham Market can win promotion

James Shea

James Shea - Credit: James Ager

Goalkeeper James Shea has challenged Needham Market to win promotion this season and refused to rule out playing his own part in the team’s charge towards the Ryman League Premier Division.

The 22-year-old was in imperious form at the weekend as the Marketmen’s eventful FA Cup run came to an end at the hands of Conference Premier leaders Cambridge United.

Signed for one-off games by manager Mark Morsley, the former Arsenal stopper has made three appearances in all for tenth-placed Needham, who are three points off the play-offs, and remains hopeful of earning a full-time contract at a professional club.

The free agent, who is still training with Arsenal, said: “Needham are doing really well in the league and it’s nothing personal but I want to win a pro contract.

“I hope they have all the success in the world as they showed on Saturday that they deserve better (than Ryman League Division One North).

“I would love to see Needham go up, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did and they should do to be honest, but they have got to go do the job now.”

Shea was signed as a relative unknown by Morsley before the Marketmen’s 2-1 victory over AFC Sudbury in the previous round of the FA Cup, and also played in a 1-1 league draw at Aveley, being drafted in for hamstring victim Andrew Plummer who will now regain his number one spot.

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“I’ve had a brilliant time at Needham, I have loved every minute, and the game against Sudbury was fantastic,” he said.

“There was a big crowd again on Saturday and it was great to be a part of the day. I have to thank the club for that.”

He added: “I’m not ruling anything out. I will speak to the manager, but I don’t know what is happening.”

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