Marketmen hope to make home advantage count against in-form Stratford

Needham Market's Jamie Griffiths, fully fit again: Picture: BEN POOLEY

Needham Market's Jamie Griffiths, fully fit again: Picture: BEN POOLEY - Credit: Archant

Needham Market entertain one of the in-form teams in Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Central tomorrow afternoon, when much-improved Stratford Town visit Bloomfields.

Marketmen boss, Richard Wilkins, will not actually been in attendance at tomorrow’s fixture, due to a family wedding, so his assistant Nathan Munson will be in charge instead.

Wilkins is looking for his side to bounce back from their Suffolk Premier Cup exit against Lowestoft Town (penalty shoot-out defeat after a 1-1 draw) on Tuesday night, following on from a 1-0 win at Herne Bay in the FA Trophy last weekend.

But they will not find it easy against a Stratford side who have put a poor start to the season well-and-truly behind them, by going on an unbeaten run stretching to 13 matches, in league and cup.

“We don’t have that much information about Stratford. I’ve tried to speak to a couple of people, but teams can change so much in a matter of a few weeks,” explained Wilkins.

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“I’m at my brother’s wedding this weekend, so for the first time in about 10 or 12 years I won’t actually be at the game this weekend.

“But at least we have a fully-fit squad to choose from. Jamie Griffiths trained this week, and so is fit, which only leaves JJ Wilson, who is out long-term.

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“So that is a big positive, to have a full squad, while being at home, we will try and dictate the match.

“We have been a bit up-and-down, as regards our home form. There have been some very good performances, and some not-so-good performances.

“We were disappointed to go out of the Suffolk Premier Cup on penalties, especially as Lowestoft’s (late) equaliser came from a corner which we felt should never have been a corner.

“At Herne Bay, we had four or five chances to score inside the first 20 minutes. We didn’t take any of these, and when you are playing a team from a lower level, that tends to give them renewed hope, and something to hold onto. It gives them more self-belief, and we were on a hiding to nothing.

“They hit the post, but when Dobbo (Reece Dobson) scored, we were will in control,” added Wilkins, whose Marketmen side lost 3-0 at home to leaders Kettering Town their last league match, a fortnight ago.

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