AFC Sudbury’s Sup-porters’ Player of the Year Jemel Fox has been slapped with a 56-day ban by the Suffolk Football Association.
The pacey full-back, the nephew of former Norwich City professional Ruel Fox, will be forced to sit out at least 14 matches, starting with Monday’s derby at Needham Market (3pm), after two incidents while playing without the club’s knowledge in a six-a-side league in Ipswich.
After Saturday’s home game with unbeaten Tilbury (3pm), Fox will be unable to play a competitive game until Chatham Town visit King’s Marsh on October 29.
But AFC’s assistant manager Chris Tracey has revealed the club, who have brought in former Bury Town full-back Ashley Sloots from Needham Market to cover his absence, have not disciplined the young player and will back him through his suspension.
“Unfortunately he has been a silly boy and done something he shouldn’t do away from the club,” said Tracey. “It is a blow Jemel is suspended for that period of time because he obviously played so well at the end of last season and clubs from higher divisions were showing interest in him.
“And it shows what we think of him because even though he has got this suspension hanging over him he has played the first two fixtures this year. He is a good player, hopefully he learns from his mistakes and the club will back him.”
The assistant boss added: “Jemel is disappointed it has happened and it is a long time not playing football. If Daniel Swain or Ashley Sloots does well at left-back he is back to square one where he was last season, playing in the reserves and that is the good thing about this year — we have a very strong squad and no-one’s place is guaranteed.”
AFC overcame Ilford at The MEL Group Stadium 1-0 on Tuesday night, courtesy of a James Baker penalty two minutes from time to give the club four points from a possible six, after Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Redbridge - where they had been 2-0 up.
Tracey, taking charge of the next two games in Nicky Smith’s absence, wants all six points as Sudbury look to maintain strong home form while gaining revenge at Needham Market on Monday for ending their play-off ambitions last season.