Ex-Ipswich Town defender Scott Mitchell is set to make his stay with AFC Sudbury a permanent one after a series of impressive displays.
The 28-year-old’s 93-day loan deal from Lowestoft Town expires next Thursday – but manager David Batch says the club have plans in place to ensure he is not about to play his last game for the Yellows.
Mitchell, who has recently be deployed as a holding central midfielder, missed the 2-1 league defeat at Aveley with illness but will return for this Saturday’s FA second qualifying round tie at Hastings United (3pm) after establishing himself as a key part of Batch’s plans.
“He will be signed on a full proper transfer before the end of the loan deal – that is all in hand,” revealed the AFC boss.
Of the former Livingston and Peterborough United player, he added: “He looks like a player who has been one of the best players in the league above, as simple as that.
“Whatever position I have put him in he has done well.”
Ryan Henshaw, who has scored in three consecutive games in starring performances from central defence, was another player singled out for praise, but has been challenged to now hit the next level.
“Right since the start of the season he has done an excellent job for us,” said Batch.
“He has learned what he needs to do and we have seen an improvement in him this season and hopefully that will not stop.
“There are things he needs to add to become even better.”
The AFC manager saw his side’s seven-game unbeaten league run come to an end at Aveley — with Greg Crane dismissed after 25 minutes — but ahead of a planned overnight trip to East Sussex to face Ryman One South title chasers Hastings, who have won their last six in all competitions, he believes they have every chance of progressing in the FA Trophy and claiming the £3,250 prize money.
“It will be a tough ask for both sides,” he said.
“We suffered our first league defeat since August on Saturday with 10 men and even then we were worth a point.
“So long as we keep everyone on the pitch, it will be a difficult game for both sides.”
If a replay is needed at Sudbury on Tuesday (7.45pm) Henshaw will be suspended, while striker Jamie Forshaw’s knee ligament injury has been confirmed and will keep him out for eight to 10 weeks.