IN WHAT promises to be a big weekend in Bury Town and Needham Market’s seasons, ahead of the rivals clashing in the county cup at Ram Meadow on Tuesday, both managers are calling on their players to step up and deliver.
With the pair set to face-off in a re-run of Aprils’ Portman Road final — which Bury won 1-0 — next week (7.45pm) both Danny Laws and Richard Wilikns admit they are currently more worried about picking up inconsistent league form tomorrow.
Needham Market go to Redbridge in Ryman League One North with Laws having declaring his players have blown their title hopes following three straight defeats while Wilkins is looking for his side to build on a draw with league-leaders Billeircay Town when they host Carshalton Athletic at Ram Meadow (both 3pm).
Laws, who has claimed his side’s season now boils down to trying to snatch a play-off place, despite being just five points off new league-leaders Leiston with the Marketmen still to face them, said: “It is definitely out of the window, definitely.
“We have got to be looking to be in the play-offs, we are not going to win the league in no shape or form, no way.
“We have dropped too many points. You cannot drop points in 11 games by the new year and think you are going to win the league. “The only way we will win the league is if we win 18 games.”
Needham lost 1-0 at fellow play-off hopefuls and local rivals AFC Sudbury on Monday, which came off the back of another disappointing home defeat, this time to Heybridge Swifts 4-3, after going 4-0 behind. And Laws, whose side face Bury Town in the Suffolk Premier Cup quarter final on Tuesday in what he calls ‘a welcome distraction’ has surprisingly departed with eight-goal Jose Espinosa this week (from 18 games) despite the club desperately struggling for goals in the injury 21-goal talisman Sam Newson.
Needham’s higher-league rivals Bury Town hope to go into Tuesday’s game with their first three points of 2012 in the bag, which would turn the heat up on their play-off rivals, currently three points above the 7th-placed Suffolk side.
“It will be a tricky affair against Carshalton, they are a good side and beat us down at their place,” said Wilikins, who was happy to take a point off league-leaders Billericay on Monday. “They have a couple of very good front men but it is a game we should be looking to win and it is good to come to that match on the back of four points, if someone had offered me four points from those two matches I would have been happy with that.
He added: “On the whole I am relatively pleased with the results over the festive period and particularly the four points from the last two matches.
“We are patching up things a little bit but we should get a few of the players back for the weekend and that is the most important thing to concentrate on one game at a time and hopefully we can get the three points.”
Defender Roscoe Hipperson, striker John Sands and midfielders Lee Smith and Danny Cunningham could be set to return for the Blues.