Patched-up Leiston travel to AFC Sudbury in Ryman League Cup

Patrick Brothers

Patrick Brothers - Credit: Andrew Partridge

Leiston boss Richard Wilkins admits the Ryman League Cup isn’t at the top of his priorities as the Premier Division Blues travel to Suffolk rivals AFC Sudbury, from Ryman North, in the second round of the competition tonight (7.45pm KO).

Skipper Tom Bullard (broken toe) heads a long injury list at Victory Road, that also includes Josh Mayhew (knee), Craig Parker, Gareth Heath and Joe Francis, while goalkeeper Danny Gay is likely to be rested and will take his place on the bench.

As a result, several young Blues such as Danny Block, Ryan Noy, and Lewis Bell plus goalkeeper Alex Rossis and Patrick Brothers will be given the opportunity to get vital match time under their belts.

“Our main aim is Saturday (the FA Trophy game at Paulton Rovers) and we have a few people carrying knocks that won’t play against Sudbury,” said Wilkins.

“As much as we want to win every game, there are other games that are more important to us at present and three or four players that would normally figure won’t play.”

Wilkins takes his patched-up side to the Wardale Williams Stadium, having led them to three wins and a draw since taking over from former boss, Steve Ball, last month.

“The draw against Leighton which forced us into an FA Trophy replay was sloppy and things went wrong in the first game, we gifted them two goals,” he added.

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“It’s early days though and I do not get too down with a defeat or go too over the top after a victory.”

Meanwhile, Wilkins says he is happy to rely on his contacts for the time being after drafting in former Colchester United player Simon Betts to assist him for Saturday’s away win at Canvey Island.

Betts, 41, made over 200 appearances for the U’s during a seven-year spell and also played for Darlington, Wrexham and Yeovil during a 12-year career.

The 41-year-old stepped in when Elliot Hunter, who has been acting as temporary number two to Wilkins, was unavailable for the game.

“Simon helped me on Saturday and he has good knowledge of the game and is highly-respected by the players,” explained former Bury Town boss, Wilkins.

“Unfortunately due to his job commitments, he may not always be available and everyone seems to have obstacles in their way at the moment, which is fine, as the role is a big responsibility.

“I wouldn’t rule out working with another person at various times.”

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