Needham Market manager delighted with permanent signing of former Cambridge United defener Ian Miller

Ian Miller wins the FA Trophy with Cambridge United in 2014.

Ian Miller wins the FA Trophy with Cambridge United in 2014. - Credit: PA

Needham Market manager Mark Morsley has welcomed the permanent addition of experienced defender, Ian Miller, into his relegation-threatened squad, ahead of tonight’s home game with East Thurrock in the Ryman Premier.

Miller, a former professional with Ipswich Town, Darlington and Grimsby, has penned a deal with the Bloomfields outfit until the end of next season, having initially signed dual registration with the Marketmen and National League side, Braintree Town earlier in the campaign.

Released by Cambridge United in the summer, Miller won the FA Trophy with the U’s, and is set to play a key role as Needham aim to survive in their first season at Ryman Premier level.

Needham are six points adrift of safety and Morsley said: “Ian was playing for both (Needham and Braintree) teams but it was not working out and he came back to me and asked if a deal was still on the table.

“He is a good lad, a very good defender and we will look to build our defence around him in the next couple of years.”

Needham have conceded, on average, more than two goals a game in the league this season and have been affected by the departure of former Hibernian defender, Chris Hogg, while the retirement of influential midfielder Ian Westlake also hit them hard.

“A lot of our success last season was based around players like Ian Westlake, Chris Hogg and Kem Izzet,” explained Morsley.

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“We have missed Westy and Hoggy, while Karl Duguid came in but is now the head coach of our academy.

“Ian is hugely competitive and, like Chris did, makes the art of defending a skill.”

Needham were knocked out of the FA Trophy to Canvey Island at the weekend, but Morsley was encouraged by his side’s display.

“We were able to tinker with our shape at the weekend and should have got something from the game – we had the lion’s share of possession,” he revealed.

“There is plenty to build on and it’s about turning performances into results.

“We have got to stop conceding early goals, a problem which has plagued us a bit.

“East Thurrock are struggling a bit like us this season and I am confident we can give them a game.”

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