Gay: needham can make the play-offs

PLAY-OFF HOPES: Danny Gay does not expect Needham to win the league title
PLAY-OFF HOPES: Danny Gay does not expect Needham to win the league title
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Goalscoring goalkeeper Danny Gay believes the play-offs are a more realistic target than winning the league for Needham Market this season.

The Marketmen’s goalkeeper stole the headlines after scoring an injury-time equaliser to help his side to a 2-2 draw away at Canvey Island on Tuesday night.

Gay’s unlikely goal extended Needham’s unbeaten run in all competitions to seven games and moved them to the top of the Ryman League Premier Division, albeit just for 24 hours after previous leaders Leiston usurped them with a 1-1 draw at Grays Athletic on Wednesday.

Following their impressive start, in stark contrast to their debut season last term, Gay has played down his side’s chances of challenging for the title, but feels the top five is achievable.

“I think we need to set ourselves targets and the target to try and make the play-offs,” said the 34-year-old. “I’ve been fortunate to win the Ryman Premier twice a few years ago now, but I can’t see us winning the league.

“But did anyone see Leicester winning the Premier League last season? It’s a long season and I think if we can keep in and around where we are now then it’s a realistic target to be in the play-offs in May.”

Needham take a break from the Premier Division as lower-league Wroxham get set to visit Bloomfields in the first round qualifying of The Buildbase FA Trophy tomorrow (3pm). Gay is hoping for an extended run in the competition, which culminates with the final at Wembley Stadium, after the Marketmen bowed out of the Emirates FA Cup at the first hurdle last month.

“It’s a nice game for us,” the former Southend United goalkeeper said. “Obviously we went out to lower-league opposition in the FA Cup, but I’d like to think that we’ve got the ammunition to get through.

“It was disappointing not to have a FA Cup run, so it would be really nice if we could have a run in the FA Trophy.”

n Brothers on Needham departure — see page 150