Richard Wilkins discusses replacing Mark Morsley as Needham Market manager and targets win at Staines

Richard Wilkins (right) will take over from Mark Morsley at the end of the season.

Richard Wilkins (right) will take over from Mark Morsley at the end of the season. - Credit: Archant

Richard Wilkins believes three points at Staines Town today is crucial if Needham Market are to remain in strong contention for a Ryman Premier Division play-off place.

With five games left to play, Needham are sat in fourth place, three points clear of sixth-placed Tonbridge Angels, who are outside the play-offs by two points.

Wilkins, who will take over as manager at Bloomfields next season, when current boss Mark Morsley moves into a new role as club chairman, said: “If we want to make the play-offs we need to win today.

“If we lose, we are going to have a massive mountain to climb and I think we are going to need to win between 10 and 12 points to finish anywhere near top-five.”

Mid-table Staines are unbeaten in eight games, having drawn their last five.

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“They will not be playing with any pressure and that can be tough to play against,” Wilkins added.

“When you are chasing a play-off place you can come unstuck and Staines is a tough place to go. They have a decent home record, especially in recent times.

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“It will be an outstanding achievement if we make the play-offs as many people said we wouldn’t last the pace.

“The boys have worked extremely hard, are now approaching that final hurdle, and I am sure there will be plenty of twists and turns left.”

Meanwhile, Wilkins admitted to being slightly surprised by Morsley’s announcement to step aside, even though he knew the time would come eventually.

“I spoke to Mark after I left Leiston and he said he saw me taking over from him,” explained Wilkins.

“I didn’t think it would happen after a season but his business has taken on a bit more and he felt it was the right time to move upstairs.

“The club have always identified the need for someone in that role, but it was a bit of a surprise when we sat down and talked recently, as I thought we were going to discuss players, budgets and bits and pieces.”

He added: “Now the buck stops with me and I’ve no problem with that.

“When I took over from Steve Pitt at Leiston, the players knew me and how I worked and it will be the same at Needham. I think it will be an easy transition.”

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