Laws: We are looking good

PUBLISHED: 17:00 08 January 2009 | UPDATED: 13:59 04 March 2010

NEEDHAM Market manager Danny Laws believes he now has a better squad than the one which had the club in contention for six pieces of silverware at this time last year.

Stuart Watson

NEEDHAM Market manager Danny Laws believes he now has a better squad than the one which had the club in contention for six pieces of silverware at this time last year.

The Suffolk side won both the Suffolk Premier Cup and Ridgeons League Cup last season but missed out on the league title on the final day of the season and heartbreaking fell just one game short of a dream FA Vase final appearance at Wembley.

Since then Laws' has made a number of changes to his playing personnel and, although his side suffered an indifferent start to the season, a run of four straight league wins of form has seen them rise to ninth in the Premier Division table.

A big part of that has been the return from injury of midfield talisman Craig Parker and the signing of last season's top goalscorer Danny Phillips from Felixstowe & Walton United.

“Maybe at the start of the season we had new faces that didn't really make a difference and that is probably why we fell a bit short at times.

“But we've had a few further changes of personnel in recent weeks, both in terms of new players coming in and players coming back from injury.

“Yes Craig Parker and Danny Phillips have definitely made a big impact in recent weeks, but the whole squad is looking good.

“People like Rhys Barber and our captain Mark Bailey, who has recently dropped into defence, have been fantastic. Danny Smy is beginning to settle in while Patrick Bexfield and Pip Boyland have made also made big impressions.

“And what can I say about Kevin Horlock? He has been a phenomenal acquisition. You would have thought that the muddy pitches and the less salubrious surroundings would have affected him but he's been our best player in the mud.

“I honestly do think we are stronger than last season. I have now got four centre forwards and competition for places at the back. I've also just signed the Suffolk Under-18 captain, Stefan Marsh, from Woodbridge so the squad is looking bigger than ever.”Holders Needham have already been knocked out of the League Cup, having suffered a shock defeat to Division One side Stowmarket in the first round, and look to have left themselves too much work to do in the league.

However, they have still got two massive games to look forward to in the form of a tasty FA Vase fourth round tie against AFC Fylde - a team Needham fans will better know as the Kirkham & Wesham side who knocked them out of the same competition last year - and the visit of an Ipswich Town XI in the semi-finals of the Suffolk Premier Cup.

Speaking on the Vase match, which is scheduled to be played on January 17, Laws said: “It's the tie of the round. There's history there from last year and we are all looking forward to it.

“We are the underdogs, there's no doubt about. They have won 16 out of their 18 league matches, have spent big and recruited players from three leagues above.

“We need all the help we can get. We need our fans not just to turn up in their numbers but to be vocal and unwelcoming.

“I don't think people realise quite how much of a lift it does give the players. I want our fans to make Bloomfields a hostile place for travelling teams to come to.

“Anyone in football, myself included, would love to get to Wembley. The lads were very disappointed not to make it last season and will be looking to go out and exorcise a few demons for sure.”

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