Boyland’s set to pip Barber for captain’s armband

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PIP Boyland could retain the captain’s armband this weekend as Needham Market attempt to succeed where local rivals Bury Town failed, by turning over Redbridge in a national cup competition.

The Marketmen visit the Motormen in the first qualifying round of the FA Trophy tomorrow (3pm), just three weeks after Bury were dumped out of the FA Cup by the same opposition on the London-Essex border.

Although regular skipper Rhys Barber returned to Needham’s line-up for their penalty shootout win at Concord Rangers on Tuesday, Boyland held on to the skipper’s armband after impressive displays during the Suffolk side’s run of three wins from three games during which they scored 21 goals.

“I decided to stick with a winning formula,” said Needham boss Danny Laws. “Pip held the captain’s armband throughout the winning run, so I thought we should just run with it.

“They both take on board this sort of responsibility as they are captain and vice-captain.”

During their Alan Boon Ryman League Cup second round clash at Concord, Sam Newson and goalkeeper Andrew Plummer scored in the dying minutes to force a penalty shootout, with Plummer again the hero when he stopped two spot-kicks.

“It was amazing really,” said Laws of the game.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in something like that.”

Laws’ men now face Redbridge twice in four days, with the second – at Bloomfields on Tuesday (7.45pm) – currently scheduled as a league match, although it would become an FA Trophy replay should the two sides cancel each other out tomorrow.

“We go into the games full of confidence,” added Laws. “This is the most consistent run of wins we’ve put together since the start of the season.

“We are definitely on fine form and the lads are a bit more sure of themselves – they showed their battling qualities on Tuesday.”

With the Marketmen’s squad slowly returning to full strength, Danny Bloomfield has become the latest player to be available once again and will push Newson and Jose Espinosa for a start.

Meanwhile, Ryan Foster has been made available on a free transfer.

n Needham’s Under-18 side missed out on a mouth-watering FA Youth Cup clash with their counterparts from AFC Wimbledon at Bloomfields after losing 4-3 at Middlesex outfit Uxbridge on Wednesday.

Strikes from Ryan Charles, Taylor Pooley and Connor Corrick proved in vain as the Marketmen’s youngsters battled valiantly in defeat.