AFC Sudbury manager Chris Tracey is hoping to beat Saturday’s deadline day to include a new face in his squad ahead of their biggest game of the campaign.
Former non-league giants Grays Athletic, who have won the FA Trophy twice in the last decade, visit The MEL Group Stadium on Saturday (3pm) in a crucial game in the play-off shake-up.
But Tracey, who raised eyebrows after releasing Jon Docker and Danny Charge ahead of their highly impressive 1-0 win at Tilbury last weekend, hopes to add a second player to his side in the space of a week.
Ex-Chelmsford City striker Chris Bryan, chased by AFC for the last two seasons according to Tracey, could be joined by one other before the 5pm season registration deadline on Saturday, and could go straight in to face fourth-placed Grays.
“Everyone is fit but I might have another player,” revealed Tracey on Wednesday. “I have been knocked back a couple of times in the last 24 hours.
“I have replaced the other two players with one so far and I am still searching, maybe for one final piece in the jigsaw.”
He added a big crowd could prove vital in helping AFC achieve their target of a top-five finish, currently being one point behind Tilbury in sixth.
He said: “This is the biggest game of the season by an absolute country mile.
“If we get the three points we will have a great chance of finishing in the play-offs.
“We need as many people as possible to turn up, get behind the team and create an electric atmosphere.”
Tracey, who has brought in experienced ex-Heybridge Swift Barry Lakin as first-team coach to replace Jack Wignall, said the decision to release midfielder Docker and striker Charge was entirely his.
“The budget has not been cut at all,” he said. “The two guys I have let go, for different circumstances, are unable to train, so that comes into your thinking and I have to think value for money.
“Danny Charge came in and did very well for me but then picked up a knock and pulled up at Enfield and has not been able to get his place back in the team.
“I think Jon Docker is a fantastic footballer and did very well for me in his early days, then he had his injury and has been a bit-part player ever since.
“I thought it was only fair to release them before the deadline to find other clubs.”
Both sides go into Saturday’s showdown in terrific form, with AFC unbeaten in eight games, while pre-season title favourites Grays have won their last five.
The Essex side beat AFC 4-0 in the reverse fixture on September 14, a result which saw manager Nicky Smith depart the club, so Tracey believes they owe them one, despite him believing the game was closer than the scoreline suggested.
*For teams and live match updates of Saturday’s game, follow @russclaydon on Twitter from 2.30pm.