Morsley keen to take advantage of rivals’ poor form

DEFENSIVE WOES: Centre-half Chris Hogg has been ruled out of action for between six to eight weeks with torn knee ligament damage
DEFENSIVE WOES: Centre-half Chris Hogg has been ruled out of action for between six to eight weeks with torn knee ligament damage

Mark Morsley has called on his Needham Market side to seize upon their title rivals’ poor form as they aim to extend their advantage at the top.

The Marketmen head to Dereham Town on Saturday (3pm) with a three-point cushion over nearest rivals Harlow Town after a Michael Brothers double secured a 2-0 win over Wroxham and a third successive victory for the Bloomfields-based outfit.

And with Town struggling in contrast, following up a 3-2 defeat to Thamesmead Town with a 2-2 draw with Cray Wanderers, Morsley has warned his side not to be in a giving mood ahead of the festive period as they look to enhance their title prospects.

“It was a really good win at Wroxham and if I’m honest it was probably the best performance I’ve seen since I’ve been here,” said Morsley, whose side bounced back from their own two-match winless run.

“I said before that I believed Harlow would be tested the most in away games during the winter time.

“They like to play a certain way and I questioned whether they could adapt to heavier pitches.

“We’ve changed our shape and style following a minor blip and it would appear that they haven’t by recent results.

“I’m still surprised that they have dropped as many points as they have but I can’t say I’m disappointed.

“However, Harlow are too good a team not to bounce back to form at some stage soon and so we have to look after ourselves and take advantage while we can and extend our lead at the top.”

Morsley’s desires to maintain their strong run of form has been dealt a major blow with the Bloomfields-based outfit facing a defensive injury-crisis ahead of Saturday’s trip.

Chris Hogg faces up to eight weeks on the sidelines with knee ligament damage, while Kieran Morphew (sprained ankle) and Sam Nunn (suspended) will also miss the trip, leaving Morsley without his first choice centre-back pairing.

“We will have some key defensive players missing for us in the coming weeks and it will be up to the younger lads to come in and do the best they can,” he added.

“It will be about my team stepping up and really showing me what they are capable of in tough circumstances.

“Dereham will give us a tough game and so we will have to be ready for that.

“I looked at possible players to bring in and also looked into the loan market but neither have worked out .

“We might have to dig deep to get results, but it is at times like this where you learn a lot about your side and the depths of their desire.”

n First-team coach Steve Foley has been handed a new role with Ipswich Town.

The 61-year-old will now be in charge of coaching the other coaches within the club’s academy setup.

“Steve lives for football and I can’t see his new role affecting what he does for Needham Market,” added Morsley.