by Peter Scherer
This Saturday’s game at home to Needham Market is probably the most important league game of the season so far, as top of the table Sports face second placed Needham Market at the Don Amott Arena.
Mickleover have now gone three league games without a win, and suffered their first defeat last Saturday 2-3 at Stratford.
But our visitors also lost last Saturday too, 0-2 at home to Nuneaton, before taking three points on Tuesday evening with a 3-0 win over Berkhamsted.
Last Saturday’s defeat was only Needham’s second of the season, having previously lost to Stratford too, 1-6 on the opening day of the season.
“Apart from Joe Bateman being suspended, I hope to have a full squad to choose from, as Fin Delap is back after his suspension. Either way it should be a good match,” said Mickleover boss John McGrath.
Needham are currently five points behind, but Mickleover have a superior goal difference, having scored 10 more!! They of course only just missed out on promotion last season.
Former Northern Ireland International midfielder Kevin Horlock has been in charge at Needham Market since February 2020, having stepped up from a coaching role. He previously managed Chatham, Colchester Under 21’s and the Northern Ireland Under 21’s, having finished his playing career at Needham too. He also played for West Ham, Swindon, Manchester City, Ipswich, Doncaster, and Scunthorpe.
First choice keeper Marcus Garnham is in his fifth season at Bloomfields, having signed from Leiston, but his whole career has been spent in East Anglia, having played for Leiston, AFC Sudbury, Lowestoft and Bury Town.
Right back Kyle Hammond came from Leiston in July 2020, after starting out as an Ipswich Town Junior, during which time he was loaned to Maldon & Tiptree.
Dan and Keiran Morphew are twins and both play at centre back. Dan was at Haverhill Rovers and Thetford Town, before joining our visitors from Dereham in 2018. Keiran was the first graduate from their own Academy and made the first of his 250 plus appearances in 2013.
Right back Jake Dye has come through the home Academy too. He debuted back in 2015 and made his 200th appearance for the club last season.
Winger Jacob Lay was a summer 2022 from Ipswich Wanderers in the Eastern Counties League, having scored 13 goals for them the previous season as they won the Division One title. He started out at Ipswich Town and has played for Brantham Athletic, Sudbury Town, Braintree, Whitton Utd, Felixstowe & Walton and Dereham, as well as a short spell at Preston North End.
Jamie McGrath was another summer 2022 signing too. He was initially on a dual registration last year with Brantham Athletic and East Bergholt, with a reputation as a prolific scorer, with 56 goals in 34 games in 21/22.
Teenager Hugh Cullum is another defender to come from the clubs Academy, he debuted in the first team during 21/22 and is an England Under 18 Schoolboy International.
Seth Chambers made his first team debut in February 2022 having come through the clubs Academy too. This is his second full season in the squad and he has found the net on a number of occasions.
Luke Ingram is the longest serving player, a midfielder in his 11th season having signed from Bury Town, having previously been at AFC Sudbury.
Midfielder Patrick Brothers came from Leiston in February 2022, after 12 years at their Suffolk neighbours. He was previously at Brantham Athletic.
Tom Fitzgerald is a midfielder too and made his first team debut last season, having worked their way through the Academy and reserve teams.
Left midfielder Dylan Williams arrived from St Ives in January. He was a Cambridge Utd Junior, joining St Neots after his release. He moved on to Biggleswade and Lowestoft, before a two and a half year spell at St Ives.
Reece Harris a midfielder too, he arrived pre-season from Sudbury, having previously been at Welling Utd and East Thurrock.
Attacking midfielder Tevan Allen was signed from Brightlingsea Regent. He started out at Yeovil and has also played for Bury Town, AFC Sudbury and Stowmarket.
Former Ipswich Town junior Tommy Smith was another pre-season arrival. The young full back was at Stowmarket Town last season.
Winger Callum Page came through our visitors Academy, before signing for Ipswich Town. He returned on loan in August 2021 and again last season, before making it permanent during the summer.
Former Ipswich Town midfielder Byron Lawrence has recently returned to action after more than two years out with a broken leg. He came from Leiston in July 2020, having played for Colchester Utd, Billericay, Dulwich Hamlet and Braintree too.
Academy graduates Ollie Fraser, James Letts, Flynn Crossthwaite and Archie Exworth have also been in the squad.
It’s a 3pm kick off as usual, so be there!