Needham Market manager Mark Morsley believes his two marquee summer signings could easily still be playing in the Football League.
Former Ipswich Town midfielder Ian Westlake and ex-Colchester United striker Jamie Guy will line-up for the Marketmen when they kick-off their Ryman League Division One North campaign at home to Romford tomorrow (3pm).
And with big names such as that in the squad, many teams will be looking to see if the Suffolk side can earn promotion from the division at the fourth time of asking.
“Ian and Jamie are two very good players and two who could quite easily still be playing in the professional game,” said Morsley, who took over from Danny Laws towards the end of last season. “Jamie is only 25, so could still get back there.”
A number of changes have been made on the playing staff at Bloomfields over the summer, with star midfielder Bradley Barber among those leaving, while numerous new faces have come in.
Ex-Bury Town trio Sam Nunn, Luke Ingram and Darryl Coakley have joined, along with the returning Andrew Plummer and Sheridan Driver, while the likes of Lee Townrow, Dave Wareham and player-coach Lee Norfolk will provide Ryman League experience.
Ollie Brown and Matty Cripps have also signed, while youngster Danny Garrad joins a host of talented teenagers, including Kieran Morphew, Matt Poxon and Ryan Charles already at the club.
Needham make their first away trip when they visit newly-promoted Burnham Ramblers on Tuesday (7.45pm).
Reflecting on his side’s chances of promotion,Morsley — who guided Leiston to the Ryman One North title in 2011/12 — said: “I don’t see us as favourites to win the league, but I’d be disappointed if we didn’t make the play-offs.”
n Needham Market Reserves will taste Thurlow Nunn League First Division football for the first time when they travel to Braintree Town Reserves tomorrow (3pm) before hosting Team Bury at Bloomfields on Wednesday (7.45pm).
Stowmarket-based defender John Carver, 17, will lead the side as captain and look to the likes of Sam Thrower and Harrison Ford to provide attacking flair.
“We are delighted to be accepted into the Thurlow Nunn League,” said academy director Andy Gould. “It provides a platform for our players to develop.”