Needham lacking in confidence as they bid to stop a terrible losing run

Russell Short, who will return after suspension for Needham Market. Picture: BEN POOLEY

Russell Short, who will return after suspension for Needham Market. Picture: BEN POOLEY - Credit: Archant

Confidence is predictably in short supply, at Needham Market, following a terrible run of results, although they will hope to stop the rot at home to play-off chasing Coalville Town tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).

The Marketmen have slipped to 14th in the table, after being outside bets for a Southern League Premier Central play-off place only a couple of months ago.

The Suffolk side have lost eight of their last 10 games, not won in their last seven outings, and have lost their last five on the bounce – at the hands of Royston, Redditch United, Banbury United, Tamworth and AFC Rushden & Diamonds.

No wonder, then, that the team is lacking in self-belief.

“We need to rally, and to do that we have to roll our socks up. This bad run has been going on for far too long, and we want to put it right, especially for our fans, who have stuck by us,” explained manager Richard Wilkins.

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“Last week’s game (2-1 defeat at AFC Rushden & Diamonds) was played in very windy conditions. There was nothing much in the game, but again we didn’t manage those conditions very well.

“We had the wind behind us in the second half, but we didn’t make the most of it. There were too many long balls going out for goal-kicks.

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“However, I think our last two performances have been a little better. We just need that little bit of luck to turn it around, with perhaps a goal going in off someone’s backside. We have looked quite solid at the back, although we could have done better with both goals last weekend.

“I think we deserved a point, and their manager agreed that we didn’t deserve to lose. It’s fine margins, but there’s no doubt that these results have been dragging a few of the players down.

“A few of the lads are lacking in confidence and self-belief, and they aren’t being courageous enough on the ball. They are panicking too much.

“They are afraid to make a mistake, but I would rather they make mistakes and be positive, because the squad is strong enough,” added Wilkins.

At least the Marketmen will welcome back the experienced Russell Short after suspension for the visit of Coalville, who are currently just three points adrift of the play-offs.

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