Steve Foley aids Needham Market play-off bid

NEEDHAM Market have turned to a former Championship Coach of the Year in a bid to secure their spot in this season’s Ryman League Division One North play-offs.

Needham manager Danny Laws invited ex-Ipswich Town and Colchester United coach Steve Foley to take last Thursday’s training session.

It is not the first time that Laws has enlisted the help of Foley, a former Championship Coach of the Year when with Norwich City.

Laws said: “We were not our usual fluent selves over the Easter period, and I felt we needed to get back to basics. It can be beneficial to have a fresh face so Steve Foley came across and did a session for us last Thursday.

“We have had various coaches in the past including Steve and (former Ipswich Town assistant manager) Willie Donachie.

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“It is a good option to have and I knew Steve’s philosophies on the game are getting the ball down and passing it and I knew he would do a really good session on passing and possession, and we carried that into the game against Romford on Saturday.”

Needham let slip a 3-1 lead to draw 3-3, but Laws said: “We created six or seven good chances in the first half against Romford, which was more in 45 minutes than in the previous 180 minutes.

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“I was disappointed we did not get the win, but we got three goals, and we became the first team to score 100 goals in the whole of the Ryman League this season. Scoring goals has been our strength this season, but we invariably let them in as well!”

Needham tomorrow travel to Chatham Town, who won 1-0 at Bloomfields in mid-December in a match which saw star striker Sam Newson suffer a knee injury that sidelined him for six weeks.

The Marketmen were top of the league at the time, although Laws admitted his side are where they deserve to be over the course of the season.

“The Chatham game at home is a long time ago and we have had ups and downs since then. We had a little flirtation with the top of the table, but it has been a highly competitive league this season and if we get in the play-offs that will be about right.”

And Laws is not concerned which of the play-off slots his side occupy a week on Saturday, so long as they finish in the top five.

“In all honesty our aim has been to just get in there. I am not looking beyond that. We have got to make sure we are in the play-offs to achieve our aim of winning promotion.

“Things change every week, so I am concentrating on the here and now – one win and we are guaranteed to be in the play-off semi-finals.”

James Evans is again ruled out with an ankle injury sustained in a challenge with ex-Needham striker Danny Smy in the Easter Monday defeat at Leiston, but otherwise Laws should have a full strength squad to choose from.

Bradley Barber did not play last Saturday due to tonsillitis, but is expected to return tomorrow.

“Bradley has been great for us this season, and as well as we passed the ball without him last Saturday, we can pass it better with him on the pitch.

“He has been very consistent for two seasons and has popped up with a few goals this season. He formed a good partnership with Craig Parker last season, and this season he has proved the partnership was also about how good a player he is as well as Craig.”

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