Richard Wilkins has said rumours suggesting John Sands has left Needham Market are “not 100 per cent true” but revealed the striker is taking a break from football.
The ex-Bury Town and Leiston frontman joined the Marketmen last month and has made five appearances for Mark Morsley’s side so far this season.
A red card late on in last week’s 4-0 derby defeat to his former club Leiston meant Sands was suspended for Tuesday’s rearranged game with Canvey Island, yet rumours circulated before kick-off regarding the 29-year-old’s current position with the club.
“It’s not 100 per cent true,” said Needham assistant manager Wilkins when asked about the pre-match rumours.
“John’s been honest and said his body is struggling. His groin and Achilles are in bits and after games it’s taking him two days to recover.
“We know what he’s capable of and he’s said ‘I’m not playing to the levels I want. I need a break from football.’
“He had a double hernia operation and it looks like it has come back. His Achilles are flaring up, his groin is playing up, his back is hurting and he’s been playing through it.”
With Sands serving the first match of his suspension, and Billy Clark, Sam Nunn and captain Kem Izzet all out injured, the Marketmen were down to the bare bones for Tuesday’s rearranged game with Canvey at Bloomfields.
The original fixture two weeks ago had been abandoned at half-time due to a floodlight failure, with the Essex visitors leading 2-1.
But it did not take long for them to quickly regain the advantage they had built up a fortnight ago, as Martin Tuhoy and George Sykes both scored in the opening 20 minutes to put the Gulls 2-0 up.
Michael Brothers opened his account for the season on 26 minutes to pull one back for the home side, before Keiran Morphew’s wonder strike from 30 yards sent the teams into the break level.
Colchester United loanee Jack Curtis put Needham in front in the 53rd minute, however Omarr Lawson headed home at the other end seven minutes later to equalise for the visitors.
“The draw was a fair result,” said Wilkins, who prepares for trips with Needham to Harrow Borough tomorrow (3pm) and Soham Town Rangers on Tuesday (7.45pm).
“It was a good reaction from the lads, going 2-0 down and after the week we’ve had I felt there was some great performances in there.”
The Marketmen suffered another early exit from the Emirates FA Cup after losing 2-0 away at lower league Uxbridge in the first qualifying round last Saturday.