Captain departs Needham as squad reshape begins

EXIT DOOR: Former captain Sheridan Driver has left Needham Market
EXIT DOOR: Former captain Sheridan Driver has left Needham Market
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Needham Market manager Mark Morsley has already 
started his pre-season shake-up with some surprising faces leaving Bloomfields.

Following a season which ultimately ended in disappointment with Ryman League Division One North play-off semi-final heartache, going down 1-0 to Witham Town, the manager is well under way with the restructuring of his squad.

The biggest casualties to suffer from the failed promotion bid are captain Sheridan Driver and young forward Ryan Charles, who have not been offered new deals, while Luke Hammond and Russell Malton are also leaving the Marketmen.

“We felt that Ryan had not quite developed as we thought he might,” explained Morsley. “Towards the end of the season he started some of the bigger games and didn’t make the impact we hoped for.

“He needs to be playing every week and we didn’t feel we could offer that.

“Sheridan was a tough call because he has played in a lot of big games and was always trusted as someone I could rely on.

“However, you have to know when is the right time for everyone to let someone go and that was the case.”

In contrast, a strong nucleus of the squad will remain, with the likes of Ollie Fenn, Luke Ingram, Sam Newson, Chris Hogg and Suffolk Under-18 player of the year Brendon Heath earning new two-year deals, while Ian Westlake has agreed a further year extension.

Morsley was delighted to be able to keep hold of a strong crop of his current squad, paying particular attention to Hogg and Heath.

“Chris will be an outstanding player for us next season, I am amazed he has not been picked up by anyone else,” he added. “Brendon is one of the best youngsters I’ve seen and I think he can develop into an outstanding player.”

“Keeping that nucleus was crucial, we made a lot of changes last season and that really affected us, we can build forward.

Off the field, the manger has also been boosted by the news that head coach Steve 
Foley will be remaining with the club after his proposed move to Sky Bet Championship side Norwich City fell through.

“We are obviously disappointed for Steve because he is a great coach but their loss is certainly our gain,” he said. “His impact is massive for us and I know the players are chuffed he’s staying — it’s a real boost for everyone.”