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Needham boss wants his team to get ‘streetwise’ for FA Cup

NEW ADDITION: Tariq Issa in action for Colchester United Under-23s against Needham Market in pre-season
NEW ADDITION: Tariq Issa in action for Colchester United Under-23s against Needham Market in pre-season

Richard Wilkins has called on his Needham Market side to ‘get streetwise’ to avoid a repeat of their last two disappointing away trips when they go to Barton Rovers on Saturday in the FA Cup (3pm).

The Marketmen come into the competition in the first round qualifying stage against the Bedfordshire side who play one level lower than themselves in the Evo-Stik Southern League.

Following a disappointing 3-0 defeat at Worcestershire side Avelchurch in their latest Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Central match, Needham manager Wilkins wants his players to adapt better to unfavourable conditions to grind out results, starting in the Emirates FA Cup this weekend.

“We have been drawn away from home which is difficult,” he said.

“It’s the FA Cup and things can change on a bad decision or a bit of bad luck, so they will be up for it.

“The pitch might not be particularly brilliant, from what I have heard it is another slopey one like on Saturday, and we may have to go there and grind out a result, which is something we have not be able to do so far.

“The players need to adapt to things better and be a little bit more streetwise.

“We have to go there with the right attitude as they will be looking for a scalp.”

He said a more direct approach is something he is looking to implement, having seen his side blow hot and cold with an attractive passing style.

“When they have been good they have been very good but when they have not been they have certainly not been good enough,” he said.

“Players have either been giving me eights out of 10 or fives, which has given us that record of two, two, two (wins, draws, defeats).

“It is about getting that happy medium now.”

The end of last week saw Needham sign Colchester United young attacking midfielder Tariq Issa on loan until January, with the player, who scored a stunning strike for the U’s under-23s against them in pre-season, coming on as a half-time substitute on Saturday.

“He was very technically good and did not give the ball away,” said Wilkins, who is still looking to add one more.

“He put in a great cross for Adam Mills, who somehow managed to put it over from about a yard out.”

He said Saturday’s game was one where they had the chances to get a point, but one where they did not deserve one.

Luke Yates guided a 20th-minute cross beyond the reach of Jake Jessup before Joshua Ezewele punished Needham’s missed chances by skipping down the right and firing a shot in off the post on the stroke of half-time.

The second half saw Needham concede what Wilkins described as ‘the softest penalty I’ve ever seen given’ from which Tom Turton scored to round off a bad day at the office.

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