AFC Sudbury won’t risk play-offs again

EXCITING TIMES: AFC Sudbury manager Jamie Godbold is relishing the new season
EXCITING TIMES: AFC Sudbury manager Jamie Godbold is relishing the new season

Jamie Godbold believes something special is happening at AFC Sudbury as they aim to fulfil their burgeoning potential on and off the field.

Ahead of the new Ryman League Division One North campaign kicking off on Saturday against Romford (3pm), the Yellows have enjoyed a productive summer with the completion of a brand new 3G playing surface at The Wardale Williams Stadium, which was set to be given the seal of approval by Fifa on Wednesday.

It is a move that has been met with the full backing of the manager, who believes his side have been given a huge advantage over their rivals in what could be prove a memorable season for the club.

“The pitch looks truly amazing and will prove a massive benefit for the whole club,” he said.

“We see it as a massive bonus for us with the way we like to play and the technically gifted players we have throughout the squad.

“I have warned the players we have no excuses anymore that were perhaps used towards the end of the season regarding the playing surface, because it is now perfect.

“It may take a little while to get used to it but the other huge advantage for us is that we will not get the disruptions others will have, caused by cancellations.

“The completion of the new pitch definitely heralds an exciting time at the club, something very special is happening for everyone involved.”

There have also been developments with the first-team squad with the manager bringing in a host of new recruits including Robbie Martin (Harlow Town), Jack Newman (Needham Market) and Ollie Canfer (Brightlingsea Regent) as well former Bury Town youngsters Liam Wales and Ross Bailey.

A blistering end to last season saw Sudbury narrowly miss out on promotion, finishing third, before suffering heartache in the play-off semi-finals as they went down 4-2 on penalties against Brentwood Town.

It is an experience that has not been forgotten easily by Godbold, who is desperate to see his squad challenge for the title in order to avoid a repeat of the disappointment of last season.

“With the new facilities we have at the club, it is about time we matched that success on the field,” he added.

“We have a great strength in depth now and the squad is a lot stronger than last season; I’m going to have difficulty picking a side.

“Last year was a massive disappointment and I will be using that feeling as a reminder to the players throughout the season.

“Losing in that manner hurts, but it can also be used as a motivational tool and who knows, hopefully something good will come from that experience.

“It is a tough league, but we know if we want to guarantee our objective of playing a level higher, then our target has to be top spot.”