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Manager feels Needham are now moving in the right direction again

NEEDHAM BOW: Former professional Curtley Williams made his first appearance on Tuesday
NEEDHAM BOW: Former professional Curtley Williams made his first appearance on Tuesday

Richard Wilkins feels that Needham Market are starting to turn a corner after recording back-to-back draws at Bloomfields in the last week.

A goalless draw with Leatherhead on Tuesday night helped the Marketmen climb four places, from second-from-bottom to 19th, in the Bostik League Premier Division.

And ahead of hosting play-off chasing Folkestone Invicta (6th) for their final home game of the year tomorrow (3pm), Wilkins believes his side can make further progress.

“We’ve been very unfortunate not to have picked up more points this season, but I just feel like we are turning a bit of a corner now,” the Needham boss said.

“Adam Mills and Luke Ingram will be fit for Saturday and all of a sudden the bench becomes stronger.

“There’s a lot of belief in the team and I do think with the squad we’ve got we can start to climb the table.

“I’m looking at the next three or four fixtures coming up and I’m hoping we can get nine, 10 or 12 points from them.”

John Sands rescued a point for The Marketmen on his return to action at the weekend, coming off the bench to grab a 76th-minute equaliser against Metropolitan Police in his first appearance for three months.

The striker was reduced to another cameo off the bench on Tuesday as he continues to regain fitness, but there was a debut for new signing Curtley Williams, who took the place of Jake Dye (flu).

Williams lasted almost an hour before being forced off with an injury, although Wilkins confirmed after the game the defender should recover in time for this weekend.

On Boxing Day, Needham head to Brightlingsea Regent (1pm), managed by Tom Rothery, who was Wilkins’ assistant at the start of the season before leaving to join the R’s in October.

“Tom knows our strengths and he knows what we’re capable of,” Wilkins said. “He’s done a good job since he went there, but we’re going there to get the three points.”

The Boxing Day clash at North Road will be the final game of Diaz Wright’s loan spell with The Marketmen before returning to parent club Colchester United.

Needham: D Gay 7, C Williams 6 (sub: S Nunn 58, 6), D Coakley 6, D Wright 6, K Morphew 6, D Morphew 6, A Schaar 6, G Heath 5, J Griffiths 5 (sub: J Sands 61, 6), C Harrison 5 (sub: K Turner 90), J Simmonds 6. Substitutes not used R Gibbs, B Cook. Booked Coakley. Referee A List. Attendance 270.

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