Needham boss Wilkins has been ‘frustrated’ by the season so far

Dan Morphew, who faces a late fitness ahead of this weekend's home match against Stourbridge. Pictur

Dan Morphew, who faces a late fitness ahead of this weekend's home match against Stourbridge. Picture: BEN POOLEY - Credit: Archant

Manager Richard Wilkins has been left frustrated by his side’s inconsistent start to the season, although he still insists that there is a “massive amount to play for” over the coming months.

The Marketmen had followed up-back-to-back league wins, at Lowestoft Town (2-0) and against Peterborough Sports (2-1), by making progress in the FA Trophy with a 3-0 success away at Cambridge City last Friday week.

But the Bloomfields club were pegged back by a narrow 1-0 league defeat at Royston Town in midweek, to leave them four points adrift of the play-off zone after 13 fixtures in the Southern League Premier Central.

Tomorrow afternoon, the Marketmen entertain Stourbridge, who have lost just twice in the league term.

"It's a tough one this weekend," admitted Wilkins. "Stourbridge finished second in the table last season, and although they've changed it a bit this season, they've still had a good start.

"Before Tuesday night's defeat, we had been doing really well with three wins on the spin. That's why it was so disappointing to lose 1-0 in a game where we deserved something. It felt like we have taken a step backwards again.

"You need things to go for you, when you are away from home, but we didn't get what was a blatant penalty (for handball) and ended up losing a game where we should have at least taken a point.

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"So instead of being on the same points, Royston are now up to seventh and we are in 13th.

"It's been a very, very frustrating season for me as a manager, because I don't think we have been beaten by a team who has clearly been better than us.

"Individual errors have cost us, and we have simply got to be better than that. We actually have a very good defensive record (just 13 goals conceded in 13 league fixtures), but we still have to cut out our mistakes. That's been the story of our season really, playing well in patches.

"The division is still very tight, and there is still a massive amount to play for - lots of teams are very similar to each other," added Wilkins.

Russell Short is still suspended, but there is a good chance that Dan Morphew will return after suspension and a niggle.

Centre-half Morphew missed training last night, but the injury has settled down and he will feature tomorrow, if he can pass a late fitness test.

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