Leiston boss hails key players, Niko Muir-Merchant and Patrick Brothers

Patrick Brothers

Patrick Brothers

Leiston manager Glenn Driver believes in Niko Muir-Merchant, he has arguably the Ryman Premier’s best striker at his disposal.

A recent signing from Hendon, Muir-Merchant has bagged three goals and three assists in five games and netted in Monday’s 5-1 home rout of Needham Market.

“Niko’s a wonderful player,” said Driver, who has seen the striker quickly form a good partnership with top-scorer, Matt Blake

“Matt Blake is an out-and-out goalscorer, but Niko brings people into play, he holds the ball up, he fights people, wins his headers and tackles and works hard.

“He is the full package and most probably up with the best strikers I’ve seen at this level.

“His work-rate against Needham was phenomenal.”

Also on the scoresheet against the Marketmen was Patrick Brothers, who scored with a wonderful long-range effort.

Most Read

“Patrick Brothers got left out against Enfield (Saturday’s 1-1 draw) and I made a mistake there,” confessed the Blues boss.

“He was frightening today, his energy levels are fantastic.

“Sometimes you want to keep a natural balance in games and sometimes you look past Patrick in that role.

“I have learned so much about him since I took over as manager and he has thrown it back in my face today (against Needham) and that is what you expect.

“He is such a great lad and this club think the world of him.”

Meanwhile, Driver said he consulted with close friends prior to the Needham game, having seen his side fall away from the automatic promotion spots in recent weeks.

“I spoke to a good friend, Kevin Cunningham, who I played for in my younger days – because I was a bit down over our recent form – it’s been poor and the cup games have probably taken us away from the league,” he revealed.

“I spoke to Jason Dozzell as well, as after the Enfield game I was distraught.

“He said, ‘it’s better to have a blip now, rather than at the end of the season’.

“We know our next game at Burgess Hill will be hard, but we have lots of home games coming up and if we perform to that level, someone is going to have to perform exceptionally well to take something from the game.

“We’ve set the benchmark now.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter