Marketmen boss wants to see better ball retention

IN CHARGE: Richard Wilkins
IN CHARGE: Richard Wilkins
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If Needham Market are to stand any chance of landing themselves a Bostik League Premier Division play-off place this season, they must retain possession of the ball better.

That is the opinion of Richard Wilkins, who is in the hotseat at Bloomfields after spending a year as the assistant to now chairman Mark Morsley.

The Marketmen spent the majority of 2016/17 within the top five, but their promotion charge hit the buffers late on and they eventually concluded the campaign in ninth position.

Finishing higher is Wilkins’ main target this term, but achieve that, he has stressed the importance of taking care of the ball.

“We were not a top five side last year and it ended up being proven,” said the former Bury Town and Leiston boss.

“There were too many occasions when we ended up playing a basketball style of football.

“It is all about retaining the ball better and cutting out the 100mph stuff.

“We need to show some patience and wait for the chance to make that killer pass.

“We conceded too many goals last season and part of that was down to a lack of ball retention.

“This is the sort of thing we have been working on during pre-season, so hopefully it will pay off.”

League rivals Billericay Town have not been shy in the transfer market, bringing in a host of players, including Champions League finalist Jermaine Pennant to join a squad that already contained former Premier League players Jamie O’Hara and Paul Konchesky.

Wilkins, in contrast, has had to be more frugal with his budget, bringing in four players, while four have headed for the exit.

However, should the right player become available, Wilkins is still open to further additions.

“We probably need one or two more, but they have to fit with us,” he added.

“I will only pay what I think a player is worth, though.

“We need more options up front, either on the left or right hand side.”

New signing and captain Gareth Heath will miss the season opener at Burgess Hill Town on Saturday (3pm), but he will return from holiday in time for Tuesday evening’s home encounter against Thurrock (7.45pm).