Needham Market face two very different challenges in next few days

PUBLISHED: 09:20 26 January 2019

Action from St Neots, as Needham's James Baker (red shirt) lurks in the home penalty area. Baker netted an early goal in a 3-0 win. Picture: CARL MARSTON

Action from St Neots, as Needham's James Baker (red shirt) lurks in the home penalty area. Baker netted an early goal in a 3-0 win. Picture: CARL MARSTON

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Needham Market are facing a very important next four days, if they are to stand a fighting chance of gate-crashing the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Central play-offs.

The Marketmen have just played three games on the road, with varying degrees of success, to stay on the fringe of the top five, going into back-to-back home fixtures against St Neots Town (today) and Biggleswade Town (on Tuesday evening).

Richard Wilkins’ men suffered a setback last weekend, when losing 3-1 at play-off rivals Stratford Town, having notched away wins at Lowestoft (2-0) and Tamworth (2-1) in their previous two outings.

The Bloomfields club are now eighth in the table, five points adrift of fifth-placed Biggleswade.

They can certainly gain heart from an encouraging performance in their last encounter with St Neots, which ended in a comfortable 3-0 win at Rowley Park in November.

Adam Mills, celebrating a goal, returns to the Needham Market team this weekend against St Neots, following suspension. Picture: BEN POOLEYAdam Mills, celebrating a goal, returns to the Needham Market team this weekend against St Neots, following suspension. Picture: BEN POOLEY

“They are two big games, for very different reasons,” explained Wilkins.

“St Neots are fighting for their lives, near the bottom of the table, and they have strengthened their squad a little. But this is the sort of game we need to win, if we want to give ourselves a chance of making the top five.

“Biggleswade on Tuesday will be a different sort of challenge. They are up there, and play very route one football.

“We did quite well at their place, although we conceded two goals from corners. They put everyone in the box, so we have to learn from that experience.

“Biggleswade are very forward-thinking, and play at a high intensity.

“So these next two games present very different challenges, against a team desperate for points and another who play very direct,” added Wilkins.

Needham will be without defender Jake Dye, due to a knee injury sustained at Stratford last weekend, while skipper Gareth Heath is doubtful due to potential work commitments.

However, the Marketmen will welcome back the duo of Adam Mills and Sam Squire following their respective suspensions.

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