Needham Market targeting FA Trophy progress as John Sands pens new deal at Bloomfields

John Sands

John Sands - Credit: Archant

Needham Market boss Mark Morsley has welcomed striker John Sands’ decision to sign a new two-year contract at Bloomfields, just weeks after it seemed the frontman’s short spell at the club was over.

Morsley confirmed in September that the club had come to an agreement to sever all ties with their summer signing, but after further discussions, the decision was reversed and the Marketmen have reaped the rewards since.

After drawing a blank in his first five games, Sands has since scored seven in eight matches and should lead the line today as Morsley reverts to a full-strength line-up for the home clash with Ryman Premier rivals, Harrow Borough, in the FA Trophy Second Qualifying Round clash.

“John had a difficult year-and-a-half, suffering with Achilles and hernia problems and things not quite working out for him at Boston and King’s Lynn,” said Morsley.

“He came to us, probably not in the best frame of mind and there was another club, closer to his home that were interested in him, but after thinking things through I think he thought ‘Do you know what, this (Needham) is not a bad club’.

“He has certainly kicked on since then and we have resolved his fitness issues.

“There was always an option on his contract to extend his stay but we thought that now was the ideal time for both parties.

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“He has still got a lot of good years in him and he will always score goals at this level and higher.

“I don’t know where we will end up at the end of this season but he is one of several players we have that can continue to improve.”

Sands was an unused substitute on Tuesday as Needham booked their place in the third round of the Ryman League Cup, thanks to a 2-0 win at Bury Town.

While that competition is on the periphery of Morsley’s thoughts – the Needham boss using the game as a chance to watch some of his younger players in action – the FA Trophy is very much at the forefront and that will be demonstrated in his team selection today.

“It’s a competition we want to do well in and I will be putting a full-strength team out – we will only be missing Kieran Morphew, Billy Clark and Kem Izzet,” added Morsley, who said his side’s 3-0 away win at Harrow, in September, would have little bearing on today’s game.

“Harrow have strengthened since then and probably changed half their team,” he explained.

“I know they lost 6-0 to Northampton in the FA Cup last weekend, but any team that gets to the First Round has got to be a decent team and we know they like to get the ball down and play.”

Elsewhere in the Trophy, Brightlingsea Regent host Harlow, while in Ryman North, Heybridge Swifts go to AFC Hornchurch and Witham entertain Thamesmead.

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