League-leading Needham have not altered their targets ahead of derby
Needham Market head into Boxing Day’s home derby against AFC Sudbury top of the Ryman League Premier Division (1pm).
The Marketmen reached the summit thanks to a 2-1 win over Harlow Town on December 13 and went on to tighten their grip on Saturday by beating Hendon 5-2 at Bloomfields.
All five of Needham’s goals came during the first half, with Luke Ingram netting a hat-trick, while Joe Whight and Kem Izzet also got their names on the scoresheet.
However, despite their lofty position, assistant manager Richard Wilkins has stressed that the early-season aims have not altered.
“Our target is still to get to 50 points,” he said.
“We will not be relegated with 50 points and, hopefully, once we get that we can see where it takes us.”
Mark Morsley’s men have already faced Sudbury (14th) once this season in the Suffolk Premier Cup quarter-finals, with Needham coming out on top 1-0 thanks to a Reece Dobson goal.
n On Tuesday, converted striker Ingram was on target again as Needham booked their place in the fourth round of the Alan Turvey Trophy.
Dobson gave them the lead in the rearranged league cuptie at Ware, but that was soon cancelled out by Josh Oyibo.
In-form Ingram struck in the 61st minute, though, to send his side through to the quarter-finals, where they will host Tonbridge Angels.
n Needham have allowed Emmanuel Osei to join Cheshunt on a permanent deal.
The striker, who signed a one-year deal in the summer, scored three goals for the club.
“I think the boy wants to play at the minute,” said Wilkins.
“Where he lives, in Enfield, makes it a bit of a trip if you are not playing.
“He will do well for Cheshunt as he is a good player.”
n Needham’s Will Crisell and Dan Knight featured for the Suffolk FA Under-18s in their East Anglian Counties Championship 2-1 win over Hertforshire FA.
Ryan Yallop (Bury Town, on loan at Brantham Athletic) and Ryan Gibbs (Walsham-le-Willows also started the encounter, which saw Suffolk come from behind to win.