The allure of playing alongside ex-Colchester United captain Kem Izzet was a big factor in Callum Harrison making the switch to Needham Market.
The U’s under-21s player got his first 90 minutes for the Marketmen under his belt in Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with Hampton and Richmond Borough and then played the full game in Tuesday’s 3-2 Suffolk Premier Cup victory at lower-league Whitton United on Tuesday as Mark Morsley’s side’s shaky form improved.
And the combative midfielder, who led Colchester United’s Under-18s to a league and cup double last season before being rewarded with his first senior contract at the League One outfit, has revealed the appeal of learning from a former U’s skipper helped him decide on Needham as the destination for his first taste of senior football.
“To get the experience from the older players was what sort of persuaded me to come to come,” he said, having made his debut from the debut in the Marketmen’s 3-1 home league cup defeat to Brightlingsea Regent in a game which saw him sent off in the second half for two yellow cards a week ago Tuesday.
“Playing in a midfield with Kem Izzet is only going to help me.
“He was at the U’s for ages and was their captain for many years, so that’s another reason I decided to come to Needham.”
Harrison, who played in a few of Colchester’s pre-season friendlies in the summer, and has signed on an initial one month loan, added: “I’ve played against Needham a couple of times and I know one or two of the boys already. But I didn’t know much about the club before I joined.
“The bunch of lads are really good and friendly. It’s a very good standard to play at and I think we were unlucky at the weekend not to come away with anything (more).”
It was only an Ollie Fenn equaliser in the 84th minute that ensured a valuable point for Morsley’s side on Saturday, leaving them a place and three points above the bottom three after Dan Sinclair had put the visitors ahead in the 65th minute.
On Tuesday, Needham recorded their first win in four games with a county cup victory at Whitton, thanks to a quickfire second half brace from Sam Newson (77, 78) adding to Adam Mills’ strike (62).
Morsley’s men are without a game this weekend and will be without Harrison on Tuesday, who serves his one match suspension when Billericay Town visit (11th, 7.45pm) as they return to league action.