Needham Market sign Michael Brothers as former Ipswich Town and Leeds United midfielder is sidelined

Michael Brothers

Michael Brothers

Needham Market manager Mark Morsley has challenged new signing Michael Brothers to earn an extended stay at Bloomfields, after the attacking midfielder joined from Stanway Rovers.

Brothers will make his debut in tomorrow’s home clash against Ware, with the Marketmen sixth in the Ryman League North table, outside the play-off positions on goal difference.

The addition of the former AFC Sudbury man will temper the blow suffered by Market who look likely to be without influential midfielder Ian Westlake for the rest of the season.

Westlake suffered a serious-looking knee injury in Thursday’s 1-0 home win against Witham and joins Sheridan Driver (thigh) and Luke Hammond (knee) on the sidelines.

“The challenge has been set for Michael to earn a contract at Needham Market next season,” said Morsley.

“He has played for me in every team I have managed and every time I have won a trophy he has been a part of the squad.

“He brings something special to the team, he is lean, good in the air and an excellent offensive player.

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“Although it hasn’t worked out for him at Stanway, he will want to get something sorted out for next season.”

Westlake’s experience has been crucial to Market’s success this season, as has the nous of Kem Izzet and recent signing, former Inverness Caledonian Thistle defender Chris Hogg.

The latter was man of the match in Thursday’s win and stepped up to the plate when it was needed, according to Morsley.

“Chris stood up and was counted when it was needed,” said Morsley.

“He put in a phenomenal performance and one that showed he has been a professional.

You need that experience from the older players, especially when last Saturday I was a bit concerned that some of the younger players were probably not dealing with the expectation from certain quarters in terms of getting in the play-offs.

“In the last two games, however, they have dealt with it well.”

Along with Westlake, Morsley is also likely to be without striker Sam Newson (hamstring) although the prolific striker could be on the bench and feature more heavily at Erith & Belvedere next Wednesday.

Erith, in second-bottom position look destined for the drop, while Ware are outside the relegation zone by a point.

That doesn’t mean tomorrow’s game will be a formality though.

“They were very poor earlier in the season but a new chairman has taken over and brought in several new players and I am expecting a different game this time,” said Morsley.

Elsewhere, AFC Sudbury, in 11th, host 16th-placed Waltham Abbey, Ninth-placed Maldon & Tiptree travel to second-bottom Erith & Belvedere and fourth-top Heybridge Swifts, in a play-off-spot, go to bottom club, Waltham Forest.

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