Wilkins aware that Needham must make a good start

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Richard Wilkins is deeply mindful that Needham Market must get their second season in the Ryman League Premier Division off to a good start.

The Marketmen host Burgess Hill Town at Bloomfields tomorrow (3pm), in a repeat of last season’s opening game, looking to build on their 20th-place finish in 2015/16.

Mark Morsley’s side endured a slow start to life at Step Three last term as they failed to win any of their opening 12 league games, before breaking their duck at the 13th time of asking.

And ahead of their curtain-raiser to the new campaign this weekend, assistant manager Wilkins, who joined the club in June, has stressed the need for Needham to hit the ground running.

“It’s paramount for any team to put points on the board early on,” said Wilkins, whose side travels to Suffolk rivals Lowestoft Town on Tuesday (7.45pm).

“There are no easy games in the Ryman Premier, but on Saturday it’s important that we get off to a good start.

“We’ve talked about improving on our position from last year and that’s our biggest aim this season.

“The players need to learn from last year. They need to find some consistency.

“It’s a tough league, it always is, so we’re hoping for a good start.”

The Marketmen have received a welcome boost ahead of Burgess Hill’s visit with the signings of Billy Clarke and Jack Curtis.

Clarke, an ex-Bury Town midfielder, was at Wilkins’ former club Leiston last season, while 20-year-old Curtis has joined on loan from Sky Bet League Two side Colchester United.

Needham have also brought in winger Reece Dobson (Royston Town), midfielder Luke Read (Brightlingsea Regent) and striker Emmanuel Osei (East Thurrock United) this summer.

Meanwhile, Ollie Mann (Brantham Athletic), Jordan Patrick (unattached) and fans’ favourites Ollie Brown and Regan Pelling (both Leiston) have left Bloomfields.

Although he was transfer-listed at the end of last season, Kem Izzet is now firmly back in the Marketmen’s plans and remains the club’s captain.