Ryman League North: Needham boss Morsley ‘where he wants to be’: A round-up of the festive Boxing Day clashes in Thurlow Nunn

Kem Izzet, left, and Mark Morsley

Kem Izzet, left, and Mark Morsley - Credit: Archant

Needham Market boss Mark Morsley says his side is, ‘close to being where we need to be’, as they enter the festive period.

Needham Market boss Mark Morsley says his side is, ‘close to being where we need to be’, as they enter the festive period.

On Boxing Day the Marketmen entertain AFC Sudbury, 1pm ko, at Bloomfields in what is sure to be a close and exciting local derby in Ryman North.

A former AFC Sudbury manager, Morsley and some of his players have plenty of Sudbury ties, which always makes these games extra special affairs.

And with the league table showing that a Sudbury victory for David Blatch’s team would put them just two points behind but with three games in hand on Morsley’s men, the result of this one is also key.

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“We are still finding our feet after bringing in plenty of personnel,” said Morsley.

“But we are close to being where we need to be. The season is not half-way through yet and I always think you need to peak around February in a league with play-offs.

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“Both us and Sudbury are in good form. We lost at home to Burnham Ramblers recently, although we were decimated by injuries.”

Luke Hammond has moved to Bloomfields from Leiston on a season’s loan, while Morsley paid tribute to the ex-pros in his side.

“We are lucky to have Kem Izzet, Ian Westlake, Jamie Guy and Richard Logan, all of who have played the game at far higher level.

“They have all been a credit, especially Kem, who has come from Colchester United in League One to us and works his socks off for the club – the first to training, the last to leave. It’s great for our youngsters to be learning off these guys and I can’t wait for the second half of the season.”

Sudbury have lost just one league game in nine and Batch has put together a competent outfit.

After Boxing Day’s game, Sudbury are at home on Saturday to Maldon & Tiptree, 3pm kick-off and Dereham on New Year’s Day, also 3pm kick-off.

Meanwhile, for a team that only won two of nine pre-season friendlies, Witham Town have emerged as the form team in Ryman North.

On Boxing Day they travel to Soham (1pm), before entertaining Dereham Town at Spa Road on Saturday, 1pm.

And their current league form is such that they have only lost once in 18 league games this season.

Also in Ryman North, Maldon & Tiptree are at home to Heybridge in the Blackwater derby on Boxing Day (1pm).

The Thurlow Nunn league has a rather subdued look to it on Boxing Day, with only a handful of games when usually there is a full programme.

Still, it should benefit fans of Diss Town, who entertain Walsham-le-Willows (11am), while there is sure to be a big crowd at Dellwood Avenue where high-flying Felixstowe & Walton entertain Woodbridge Town (12 noon ko).

Kirkley travel to Gorleston (11am), while in Division One Halstead entertain Saffron Walden at Rosemary Lane, 11am.

On Friday, there are a few more Thurlow Nunn clashes, with league leaders Hadleigh United entertaining Brantham at Millfield, FC Clacton entertain Brightlingsea, both games 3pm kick-offs.

While there is Friday night football at Cornard this week, 7.45pm, where AFC Sudbury Res are the visitors.

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