Needham Market boss Mark Morsley shocked the likes of Colchester and Braintree didn’t make a move for Chris Hogg

Needham new boy Chris Hogg (green) in action for Hibernian against Rangers

Needham new boy Chris Hogg (green) in action for Hibernian against Rangers - Credit: PA

Needham Market boss Mark Morsley has praised the impact new signing Chris Hogg has had on the club – and can’t believe local professional clubs didn’t make a move for the ex-Hibernian skipper.

Hogg helped Needham to an important 1-0 win over Dereham on Tuesday evening with the former Ipswich Town, Hibernian and Inverness Caledonian Thistle defender admitting he was ‘pleasantly surprised’ following his Needham debut.

“Hoggy did fine,” said Morsley, who missed Tuesday’s win after undergoing an operation on his shoulder.

“He hadn’t played for a few months but will only get better after every game.

“He’s settled among the squad nicely and looks like he is enjoying himself.”

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With fellow ex-pros Kem Izzet, Ian Westlake and Richard Logan also on board, Morsley is building quite a force at Bloomfields as his side look to fight their way into the play-off positions come May.

“Hoggy fits the bill nicely,” added Morsley.

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“He’d just moved back to Suffolk and after having a word with Steve Foley at Ipswich, we met for what was supposed to be a five minute cup of coffee and chat.

“Hoggy’s a straight person who knew where he wanted to go in the game after so many years of playing in the highest league in Scotland and that cup of coffee turned out to be one and a half hours long!

“I can’t believe the likes of the Colchesters and the Braintrees of this world didn’t make a move for him – but that’s our fortune.”

In truth, Needham rode their luck against an impressive Dereham outfit on Tuesday but the final result is the only one that counts.

“It was one of those games where the result was more important than the performance,” said Morsley.

“I’m told Dereham played very well and we were thankful to our keeper Andy Plummer who made several good saves.

“It was only our third game in well only a month so I think the lads were a little ring-rusty but we’ll be looking to add performances to results as the games go on.”

The Marketmen are set to welcome Aveley to Bloomfields tomorrow with striker Sam Newson returning back to the fold for the first time since he did ankle ligament damage in the brave but narrow defeat to Cambridge in the FA Cup, back in October.

“I’m delighted to have Sam back in the squad,” said Morsley.

“Fair play to the lads, he’s worked really hard with the physio and will now come back into my plans.”

Morsley rates Saturday’s game being on as ‘50-50’ with the pitch at Bloomfields notoriously struggling to deal with the ill weather.

“We’ll have to see what the pitch is like in the morning but everyone at the club will be doing their upmost to get the game on as we need to play games,” confirmed Morsley.

“Aveley are a big physical side and the pitch might help them in that respect.

“We drew 1-1 at their place but that was after the FA Cup draw against Cambridge so the lads were a little distracted. I’m expecting us to keep up our good form with a win.”

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