Needham Market manager Mark Morsley hails impact of former Colchester United skipper Kem Izzet
Needham Market manager Mark Morsley has hailed Kem Izzet's return from the cold - the midfielder having seemingly been on his way out of Bloomfields in the summer.
The 36-year-old former Colchester United skipper has performed well as a substitute during the last two games, including scoring a penalty in the midweek 2-0 win over Lowestoft Town, and will start the Marketmen’s home game with 10th-placed Worthing this afternoon.
With the Ryman Premier top two Leiston and Havant & Waterlooville not in league action today, third-top Needham can put the pressure on the duo with three points and Izzet could well prove to be a key man.
“I felt the way we were looking to play this season did not suit him (Izzet) and I made him available for transfer,” said Morsley.
“Richard Wilkins (assistant manager) and Tom Rothery (head coach) both said they would like to work with him and we spoke with him and said we would like him to stay.
“To be fair he has been fantastic for us. He did not play for five weeks due to injury, but his commitment to his fitness programme and for the rest of the time has been phenomenal.
“He has come on as a substitute in the last two games and been effective in both and he will start today.”
Izzet was a key player as the Marketmen won promotion to the Ryman Premier in 2015, and Morsley added: “He was our most important player in the Division One North promotion campaign and we would not have won the league without him.
“He struggled last season for a number of reasons but he has been better this season.
“I really like the lad as a bloke. I have never been one to let my emotions get in the way of my footballing decisions though and, along with my staff, I try and get the best players in to be successful.”
Another player that has returned to form after a difficult start to the season is John Sands.
Prolific at Ryman Premier level and below, the striker looked to be on his way out of the club recently, having agreed a deal to depart Bloomfields, but the summer signing has since decided to stay and scored goals in the Marketmen’s last two games, the wins against Wingate & Finchley (1-0 away) last Saturday and Lowestoft Town in midweek.
“John is working hard and he is still not match-fit,” added Morsley.
“His goalscoring record throughout his career has been good.
“He is a decent lad and done very well for us. The goal he scored for us the other night from a narrow angle was a very composed finish.
“We have Luke Ingram and Reece Dobson providing the width and chances and I think he will become more productive once the pitches soften up as I think he struggles a bit of hard surfaces.”
Today’s opponents are 10th in the Ryman Premier, eight points behind third-placed Needham, who are seven points clear of sixth-placed AFC Sudbury.
“We have got to just keep chipping away,” insisted Morsley.
“The aim has always been about establishing ourselves long-term in the Premier Division and we are possibly over-achieving at the moment.”