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Bad run at the end of the season for Marketmen

TIRED LEGS: Ryan Gibbs battles for Needham in their third game in six days. Picture: Ben Pooley
TIRED LEGS: Ryan Gibbs battles for Needham in their third game in six days. Picture: Ben Pooley

First-team injuries and fatigue have cost Needham Market at the end of this season, according to manager Richard Wilkins, writes Hannah Dolman.

The Marketmen lost their fourth consecutive game in the Bostik League Premier Division on Tuesday, as they fell to a 2-0 away defeat to Leiston.

It followed a 1-0 home defeat on Saturday to Harrow Borough in a game Wilkins said they ‘should not have lost’.

But they went into that game just two days after falling to a comprehensive 5-0 away defeat to champions Billericay Town on Thursday.

Wilkins said this run of fixtures had come at a ‘terrible time’ with the club missing almost half their star players through injury, coupled with an end-of-season fatigue.

He said: “It’s what happens when half your squad is out injured and you have to play games that close together at the end of a season.

“I’m not making excuses though, we should have beaten Harrow, the chances were there.

“But it was probably our worst game for creating things all season.

“I’ve brought in a lot of the young players, but I don’t think they are the reason for recent results, it’s just been very disruptive with all the changes we’ve had to make.

“We want to finish as high as we can but we’ve also been safe for the last 10 games and so this is the time to try things.

“This is when you can test the youngsters and fringe players, but it would be nice to finish the season with a win.”

The side have one more fixture in this season’s league campaign, an away trip to mid-table Kingstonian on Saturday (3pm).

Wilkins said it’s going to be ‘very tough’ for a side that will still be missing core players such as Luke Ingram and John Sands.

“We’ve had a bad season for injuries,” he said, “and particularly over the last few games.

“But we’re safe and will have another season at this level so there’s nothing to lose on Saturday.”

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