Rick Andrews says the return of Remi Garrett to his Stowmarket Town squad this weekend will be like having a new signing, writes Alex Moss.
The winger, who joined the Old Gold and Blacks from Bury Town in February last year, has been out of action since late October with a hamstring injury.
But ahead of hosting Thetford Town at Greens Meadow tomorrow (3pm), Andrews is hoping to include the 24-year-old in his squad, as his Stow side look to make it seven wins in a row in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division.
“I feel sorry for Remi because he’s probably been the most frustrated out of all us, especially when he’s watching his team-mates doing so well on the pitch,” the Stow boss said.
“I think he’ll admit he tried to come back from his injury a bit too soon, and it’s a lesson to all the players that maybe by coming back a week or two weeks earlier, it’s put him out for another seven or eight weeks.
“I understand players want to get back playing and play their part, but sometimes coming back too soon can be to the detriment of the team.
“Remi’s had a half in a reserves game and felt good and he’s been training with us and looks good. He’ll be like a new signing for us.”
When Stow take on Thetford tomorrow it will have been three weeks since their last game, the 7-1 thrashing against Fakenham Town, which moved them back up to second in the table.
Since then Andrews’ side have dropped to fourth heading into this weekend but, while Stow may not have not been in action, they will have been pleased to see the three teams above them — Felixstowe & Walton United, Coggeshall Town and Brantham Athletic — all drop points.
Stow trail third-placed Brantham by a point, and second-placed Coggeshall by two points, while leaders Felixstowe hold a 20-point lead over the Old Gold and Blacks, albeit having played five games more.
The clash with Thetford will provide Stow striker Josh Mayhew with the chance to make more ground up on the Thurlow Nunn League top flight record for goals in a single season.
Matthew Metcalfe (Wroxham, 1992/92) leads the way with 50, with Mayhew currently on 39 goals from his 34 appearances.
• Walsham-le-Willows slipped to a third straight defeat in the Premier Division on Saturday, going down 2-1 at home to Ely City.
Hosting Walsham were on the back foot for much of the first half at Summer Road, though they only went into the break one goal down, with Dan Brown scoring for the visitors.
Jack Brame equalised in an improved second half, but Sam Reed came off the bench to score a late winner for Ely.
Fifth-from-bottom Walsham host Kirkley & Pakefield tomorrow (3pm), followed by a trip to Stanway Rovers on Tuesday in the quarter-final of the League Challenge Cup (7.45pm).
• In the First Division, bottom-of-the-table Team Bury are due to host Downham Town at Ram Meadow (3pm), having been without a game last weekend.
• Second-from-bottom Needham Market Reserves lost 2-1 at home to high-flying Woodbridge Town last Friday night and tomorrow will travel to March Town United (3pm).