Barber targets promotion to add to milestone celebration

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NEEDHAM Market captain Rhys Barber believes his side have everything in place to target a successful promotion push after celebrating reaching his 300th appearance for the Marketmen.

The defender reached the milestone in the recent 2-1 league victory away to Ilford and after spending six seasons at the club and only missing 12 games during that period, Barber was delighted with his achievement as he also thanked manager Danny Laws, who brought him to the club, for his continued faith shown in him.

“It is a great achievement for myself to be able to reach 300 games at Needham Market,” he said.

“From a personal point of view it is good to know that the manager has kept that faith and always believed in me since bringing me to the club and also giving me the responsibility of being captain.”

There were doubts over a possible promotion push at the beginning of the season as wholesale changes had to be made at Bloomfields in the Summer as Danny Laws reshuffled his squad after losing key players including Danny Gay, Kevin Horlock and 42-goal top scorer Craig Parker.

However with the new look side currently sitting top of the Ryman League Division One North table after six consecutive victories, Barber believes the squad is stronger than ever as they aim to rectify last season’s disappointing play-off defeat and achieve promotion.

“I think overall we are stronger as a team compared to last season,” he added. “Losing Craig Parker at the beginning of the season was a big loss but the players that were brought in, in the summer as well as the recent arrivals of Angelo Harropp and Jose Espinosa have improved us a lot overall.

“Although it was difficult with a lot of new signings settling at the beginning of the season, the team spirit is now clear to see I think it is stronger than it has ever been before.

“We are on course to guide ourselves for a promotion push and the squad is now starting to believe it is a possibility. It is something we want to achieve and although it is still difficult to see at this early stage of the season, we are giving ourselves a strong chance with the form we are producing.

“There were lessons to be learnt from last season’s disappointment and everyone at the club is more determined than ever to put that right and go one better to achieve our ambitions.”