U's send full squad to AFC Sudbury
MICHAEL Cheetham will enjoy a well-deserved Testimonial as two of his former clubs, AFC Sudbury and Colchester United, meet at the King's Marsh Stadium this evening (kick-off 7.
By Carl Marston
MICHAEL Cheetham will enjoy a well-deserved Testimonial as two of his former clubs, AFC Sudbury and Colchester United, meet at the King's Marsh Stadium this evening (kick-off 7.45pm).
Winger Cheetham, who was a trainee at Ipswich Town before making his big breakthrough at Cambridge United, spent a couple of seasons at Layer Road during Steve Wignall's era.
In recent years, Cheetham has plied his trade at Sudbury, initially for Sudbury Town and then the newly-formed AFC Sudbury, before resigning as player-coach when boss Gary Harvey also called it a day at the end of last season.
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Cheetham will start tonight's match, playing a cameo role for the hosts. But whereas his playing career is ending, AFC Sudbury are entering an exciting new era.
The west Suffolk club will begin in a new league this term - Ryman League Division One North - and in Mark Morsley they have an ambitious manager.
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Morsley said last night: “This is a big season for Sudbury, making the step up from the Ridgeon League. They have waited until it is the right time for the club as a whole to make the move up.
“It's also an important season for me, having made the tough decision to leave Needham Market after three successful seasons.
“It's a challenge for myself. I had finalised the squad by June. I did miss out on a couple of players, most notably Gavin Johnson, who joined Oxford United instead.
“Of course Gavin (Johnson) is a former Ipswich and Colchester player, and I'd still like to have him playing for Sudbury one day. He's told me to keep in touch. At least I have touched base with him.
“We had a pre-season game against Haverhill (1-1 draw) on Saturday, but the visit of Colchester will be a more serious test. At least I have four senior players returning,” added Morsley.
The quartet in question are Terry Rayner, Pip Boyland, Adam Claydon and Nathan Munson.
For keeper Munson, it will be a chance to play against the club where he began his career - Munson made a handful of first-team appearances for Colchester, during Roy McDonough's reign when they were in Nationwide Division Three.
Morsley said of Cheetham's testimonial: “Michael deserves this recognition. He has been a fine player, and an assistant to Keith Martin and Gary Harvey. In fact, Michael is interwoven in the success story of Sudbury.”
This will be Colchester's second pre-season friendly, following a 3-1 win at Essex neighbours Heybridge Swifts on Saturday. Jamie Cureton netted a hat-trick as the U's rallied from a goal-down at Scraley Road.
Caretaker manager Geraint Williams is again planning to give all of his senior players a run-out, with the exception of defender John White, who is on the comeback trail after a minor operation.
Meanwhile, former U's full-back Sam Stockley has signed for League Two club Wycombe Wanderers.
Stockley was released by United at the end of last season, having been on loan at Blackpool. He had a trial with Luton this summer, but has opted to sign a two-year deal with Wycombe.