YOUNGSTER Fred Howe is set to be given the chance to replace Danny Gay in the AFC Sudbury goal after the ex-Southend custodian left for hometown club King’s Lynn.
The 20-year-old former Ipswich Town, Colchester United and Peterborough United academy shotstopper trained with Bury Town over the summer having seen his first team opportunities blocked by ever-present Gay.
But after returning to King’s Marsh for the start of the campaign in Ian Mamby’s reserve side, Howe is set to be handed the number one shirt for the Yellows trip to promotion-chasers Tilbury on Saturday (3pm).
He was previously relied on to fill the gap left by Nicky Eyre’s departure after a disagreement with the club under Nicky Smith at the tailend of the 2010/11 season.
Assistant manager Barry Lakin said: “Fred has done well in the reserves and did well in a couple of friendlies and if he comes up to scratch he will be given a run.”
Mamby said: “He is playing some of the best football he has ever played with me and he deserves his chance and is very capable of playing at that level – he has been outstanding with me and I hope he goes on to do well.”
Gay, who joined from Needham Market, cited travelling distances as the main reason behind his decision to head back to King’s Lynn on Thursday, but also gave mention to AFC’s early cup exits.
The 30-year-old, who played 63 competitive games since arriving in the summer of 2011, said: “It was a difficult decision and I really enjoyed playing for Sudbury.
“It’s a fantastic club run ounstandingly by the chairman who is a real football man and there is not many like him in non-League football but personally it was an opportunity I felt I could not really turn down.”
Gay, who was not under contract while at the club, said he believes AFC are good enough to earn promotion this season, but only if the board does not cut manager Chris Tracey’s wage budget following the cup exits.
“I think the bottom line is it will come down to whether the board backs the manager or whether the board makes a decision to cut the budget,” he said.
“The players in there are definitely capable of being around the play-offs but if they have to get rid of five or six players, and that would have to be their best players, as they are on the money, then I am not sure.”
Striker Lee Boylan trained with the side on Tuesday following his torn ankle ligaments but is set to be on the sidelines for a further two weeks while midfielder Ben Bowditch’s loan from Concord Rangers has been extended.