STUART Boardley has taken to playing as a centre back like a duck to water.

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But Leiston’s longest-serving player still sees himself primarily as a midfielder.

Boardley admitted he was taken aback when manager Mark Morsley asked him to drop into the Ryman League Premier Division club’s back four.

He said: “I raised a few questions because I had only ever filled in there before when we had major injury problems or someone has been sent off, but I have played well there since I have moved to centre half.

“You have to be able to read the game well to play there and that is one of my strengths, to be able to pre-empt what is going to happen.

“To be fair to Mark since he put me there I have played well and others have played well in midfield, so it has been the right decision at the right time.

“The move has coincided with a good run of form and clean sheets as we have gone nine league games unbeaten.

“But I still consider myself as a midfielder, although whether Mark does is another matter!”

Boardley recently played his 200th league game for Leiston, becoming only the second player to reach the landmark.

And he is now closing in fast on former team-mate Blake Saker, who left Victory Road in the summer and signed for Lowestoft Town.

Boardley spent three years at Ipswich Town – two as an apprentice and one as professional – before being released in 2004 without playing a first-team game.

He then joined Torquay United in August of that year and made 14 appearances for the League One side, before being released at the end of that season following the club’s relegation.

A short spell followed at Ridgeons League Division One side Long Melford, before joining Leiston.

“I had two years at Leiston, playing under Glenn Driver and then Jason Dozzell, before I went to AFC Sudbury, when Mark Morsley was manager,” he said.

“When Mark left I came back to Leiston, which was four years ago, playing first under Carl Chenery and then Mark.

“This is my seventh season now with Leiston.

“It is a good club to be at and is very family-orientated – my wife and little boy come along a lot to watch.

“There are good people around the club – it has always been the same chairman and vice-chairman in my time here.”

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