Wilkins looks for breathing space as Needham entertain basement side Burgess Hill
- Credit: Archant
While admitting nothing will be decided tomorrow night as regards relegation from Bostik Premier, Needham Market boss Richard Wilkins is in no doubt the importance of tomorrow’s clash with Burgess Hill, at Bloomfields.
The Suffolk side are fourth bottom in the table, with Burgess Hill bottom.
Only one side goes down from the division this season, Burgess are six points behind Needham.
So, victory for the Marketmen would see a nine-point gap open up – defeat would see the west Sussex side move off the basement.
“It’s a crucial game for both sides, of course it is,” Wilkins said.
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“OK, so nothing will be decided on Tuesday but for us a win would certainly give us a bit of breathing space and that would be nice.
“There will be loads of twists and turns between now and the end of the season, but if we can open up a gap, that would be very useful.”
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Needham picked up a good point at Staines on Saturday, a place Wilkins admits is always a tough one to go to.
The Suffolk side have hit some reasonable form of late – and are unbeaten in their last four league games.
“We’ve a fully-fit squad back again and that has been a big help,” Wilkins said.
“Yes, it was a good point at Staines and if we can carry on where we left off there, that would be good.
“The squad is the strongest it has been all season. We have got plenty of goals in us and our goal difference is worth another point to us among the teams near the bottom.”
John Sands is one who has been scoring regularly on his return from injury for the Marketmen. He notched his 250th career goal at Staines.
“I still don’t think John is 100% fit, but if you give him two chances in a game, he’ll get you two goals and that’s priceless,” Wilkins added.
Meanwhile, and also in Bostik Premier, Sam Ashford and Jack Newman have left Brightlingsea Regent, with boss Tom Rothery admitting both have struggled “physically and mentally” during their time at the Taydal Stadium.
“Both players have done ok in glimpses but they’ve struggled physically and mentally to adapt to this higher level,” Rothery said.
Rothery has also admitted it has been a frustrating last week or so, having to fend off approaches from lower-league clubs for his under-18 and Academy players.
“Sadly, it seems some people can’t conduct themselves in the way I believe they should,” he said.
“At our level, the managers have more respect for each other and all levels should be like that. I often see people moaning about seven-day approaches and other things like that but then they behave in the same way.
“I find that peculiar, to say the least.”