Feelgood factor and crowds returning to Woodbridge Town, ahead of Stowmarket Town clash

Aaron Churchyard scores for Woodbridge

Aaron Churchyard scores for Woodbridge

Paul Leech

There’s a good feeling about Woodbridge Town at the moment and it will increase further today if the Woodpeckers can inflict Stowmarket Town’s first defeat of the season, at Notcutts Park.

Woodbridge have made slow but sure progress under Scales since his appointment in the summer of 2014 and have finished 17th and ninth in his two full seasons in charge.

Today, Town entertain Rick Andrews’ side who are second in the table and recently embarked on a nine-game winning run. They are full of established local talent, players such as Danny Cunningham Steve Holder and Ben Garnham.

Woodbridge go into the game with a good mix of youth and experience in their squad and are going in the right direction as well as attracting supporters back.

“It’s pleasing, for the club,” said Scales. “They (supporters) want us to do well but on days where in the past we have attracted crowds of 40 and 50, we are now getting eighties and nineties.

“We have had a few big games against the likes of Coggeshall, Framlingham and Hatfield and we had in excess of 600 people in total for those three games and that’s a testament to a team that is doing well. It also shows the value of local football. If you follow a professional club then there is a premium to pay for that. You can come and watch a game at our level and you can still see emerging youngsters coming through and good quality football.”

Leading the way for the Woodpeckers this season is prolific marksman, Mark Ray, who already has six hat-tricks to his name and 25 goals in 15 games.

“I am really pleased for the lad,” added Scales. “I got him last season after he had a stop-start spell at Whitton.

“He came back and teamed up with some familiar faces and a couple of his best mates.

“He is enjoying his football and is getting his rewards and that is down to him doing what we want him to do, as well as working very hard.”

Ray is a product of the Woodbridge youth system which is bearing fruit for Scales and is another reason for the current feelgood factor at Town.

“That always been the aim and when I came back I emphasised the importance of youth,” explained Scales. “But you have to be careful with young players and have managed to bring in some more experienced players in to compliment them.

“The likes of Aaron Churchyard, Liam Scopes, Mark Ray, Ben Garnham, Baden Holmes and Ben Daley have all played for Woodbridge at under-18 level and under in the past and we want to keep encouraging this.”

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