Needham’s season hangs on pivotal Easter games

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NEEDHAM Market manager Danny Laws has described the next 72 hours as pivotal as he prepares to take on Ryman League Division One North high-flyers Enfield and Leiston in an Easter weekend extravaganza.

The Marketmen kept up their impressive recent league form on Saturday as Bradley Barber’s 51st-minute strike secured a 1-0 victory away to struggling Great Wakering Rovers, their fourth consecutive win.

They welcome second-placed Enfield Town to Bloomfields tomorrow (3pm) before travelling to table-topping Leiston just 48 hours later for a Suffolk derby in an Easter weekend that could have ramifications in the title and play-off races.

Tomorrow’s opponents sit just one position and four points clear of third-placed Needham and although they have endured a poor run of form in recent weeks, losing their last two league matches, Laws has warned his side against a possible backlash.

“We were delighted to get another clean sheet and although it was a narrow win on Saturday, we got a good outcome,” he said.

“We now face a different challenge with Enfield, they are above us in the league for a reason and we will have to respect that.

“We are well aware of their poor run of form but we are not naive to think we can just turn up and roll them over.

“You have to be cautious of a possible backlash and by no means do we think it will be easy, you always have to wary of a wounded animal.

“These matches will be very pivotal because when you play the teams around you it will inevitably have an effect on the league and your season.

“They are significant and very important, not only for us but for both sides involved and it will certainly create an exciting weekend.”

Unlike Enfield, Monday’s opponents and league leaders Leiston have enjoyed a unbeatable run of form of 18 league games, stretching back to December and Laws is well aware of the tough task his side face.

“Leiston have had a lot of clean sheets and obviously that shows that they are difficult to beat,” he added.

“We have to stick to our game plan and do all we can to get a result against a very difficult team to beat.”

Many managers across the county will have the headache of facing two matches over the prolonged weekend and Laws revealed there will be changes to his team over both games as he looks to utilise his strength in depth.

“Having two games in a short space of time is a tough ask and I will have to select my teams accordingly,” he added.

“We have struggled with back-to-back games in the past and they have our Achilles heel at times.

“However everyone is fit and there is definitely an importance on our strength in depth now.”