Boss urges his Needham side to ‘win ugly’

TIME TO GET TOUGH: Needham boss Richard Wilkins
TIME TO GET TOUGH: Needham boss Richard Wilkins

Richard Wilkins has conceded his Needham Market side must learn to ‘win ugly’ as they bid to preserve their Bostik League Premier Division status, writes Liam Apicella.

Only one side will be relegated from the Bostik League Premier Division this term, but following back-to-back defeats on the road at Harrow Borough (3-2) and Margate (3-1), just five points separates 21st-placed Needham from the basement.

And with Kingstonian — a team just three points better off than The Marketmen —visiting Bloomfields tomorrow (3pm), Wilkins has encouraged his players to start digging out results.

“There is always a worry when you are in the sort of position we are in because you do not want to get trapped down there,” he said.

“Yes, only one team goes down, but someone has to go and we need to make sure it is not us.

“We need to get our act together, roll up our sleeves and start to win ugly.

“It is all about scrapping for those 1-0 and 2-1 wins — we need to make it happen.

“I need 11 players out there who are going run through brick walls for each other.

“There are just under 20 games left to play and we are probably going to need to win a third of them to guarantee safety.”

A knee injury could rule Curtley Williams out of the Kingstonian game, while Sam Nunn is away.

Kieran Morphew should be fit, though, which will allow Wilkins to deploy John Sands in a more natural striking position.

Injuries and unavailability forced Wilkins to use Sands as a makeshift centre-back at Margate and he was impressed with the former Bury Town and Mildenhall Town man’s performance.

“John has played there a little bit before and to be fair to him he did very well,” he said.

Meanwhile, Billy Clarke has left the club for Brightlingsea Regent, while dual-signed Ryan Gibbs may play again for Walsham le Willows tomorrow to boost his match fitness levels.