Title race wide open, says Middle

ACHILLES manager Alan Middle reckons up to eight teams are capable of winning the Senior Division of the Kingsley Healthcare SIL this season.

Middle, whose own side have won their last three matches to move up to fifth, said: “It is a very open league this season - everyone is beating everyone else. I think half-a-dozen or even as many as eight teams are capable of putting a run together and winning it.”

Middle, not surprisingly, includes his own side among those capable of mounting a title challenge.

“I think we will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season. We have made a couple of good signings in Chris Leys and Kieron Donovan, although we have lost Luke Hillyard who has this week gone to Ipswich Athletic.

“Chris, who was with Ipswich Wanderers, has been playing in a holding role in the centre of midfield and has done really well for us and Kieron is an attacking midfielder who has joined from Capel Plough, although he used to play for Achilles Under-18s, and they have strengthened us.”

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Achilles lost their opening two matches - 1-0 at Woodbridge Athletic and 3-2 at home to Felixstowe United - before collecting maximum points in their last three games.

Middle reflected: “We played really well against Woodbridge Athletic but didn’t get anything out of the game and then led 2-0 at half time against Felixstowe United and threw it away in the second half.

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“I missed the match at Wickham Market, where we won 4-1, but my assistant Lee Osborne was pleased with the way we played, and we played well against Leiston St Margarets and were 4-1 up before winning 5-3.”

Achilles won 1-0 at defending champions Grundisburgh last Saturday, playing the final 20 minutes with ten men after Andy Coote was sent off for a second bookable offence.

“He had been booked for an earlier misdemeanour and then he received a second yellow card for allegedly swearing at the referee, although he was cursing himself. Grundisburgh manager Micky Squirrell said that Andy Coote would have been his man-of-the-match if he hadn’t been sent off.

“It was backs-to-the-wall stuff towards the end of the match, and it would be difficult to pick a man-of-the match because everyone played well.”

Achilles tomorrow host Old Newton United, and Middle added: “They had a good 3-1 win at then leaders East Bergholt United two weeks ago, and we will not be under-estimating them.”

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