Pre-season friendlies culminate in academy glamour tie

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NEEDHAM Market’s reserve side are gearing up for a pre-season glamour tie with West Ham, as they travel to the newly-promoted Premier League Hammers’ academy for a friendly on Saturday, August 22.

The match concludes a bumper pre-season fixture list for the Marketmen’s reserves who also face trips within East Anglia to Debenham LC (July 10), Thetford Town (July 13) and AFC Sudbury Reserves (July 14) as well as home matches with Melton St Audrys (August 3) and Felixstowe and Walton Reserves (August 14).

But it is the final fixture against the illustrious academy who brought through players such as Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Rio Ferdinand and Michael Carrick that is sure to catch Needham fans’ attention and give Kevin Horlock’s side their biggest test.

Meanwhile, Needham Market’s latest signing Craig Nurse has revealed the opportunity to play regular football was a major factor in him signing for the Marketmen.

The midfielder, who can also play up front, sealed a move from Ryman League Premier Division neighbours Bury Town this week, bringing a five season stay with the Ram Meadow outfit to an end.

Nurse endured a frustrating season, finding himself on the bench more often than not as he amassed a total of 13 starts for Richard Wilkins side, as well as 25 appearances as a substitute, more than any other Bury player, scoring a total of three goals.

That led the 21-year-old to reject the chance to stay with Bury, despite admitting it was a difficult decision, and seek a new challenge with Danny Law’s Ryman League Division One North charges.

“The biggest factor for me joining Needham was to play more regular football and start more games,” he said.

“It was frustrating being on the bench a lot last season and trying to make an impact coming on late in games.

“Bury wanted me to stay, but after speaking to Danny Laws and hearing his ambitions for next season, it just sold the club to me.

“I had been at Bury for five seasons and it just seemed the time had come for me to find a new challenge.

“It was a hard decision for me to leave though because Bury will always be close to my heart.

“I now have that challenge with Needham, they are a big club and I am hoping to match their ambitions and help them get promoted automatically.”

n Laws has continued the rebuilding process on his squad this week with the news that defender James Evans and midfielder Ollie Fenn have followed Darcy De’ath, Duane Wright and Bradley Barber in agreeing new deals with the Marketmen for the up coming campaign. However, Angelo Harrop has left the club, following Scott Chaplin and Deakin Napier out of Bloomfields.