Jamie Godbold has revealed he has an immediate solution to plug a gap in the paper-thin squad he has inherited — register himself as a player.
The recently-turned 35-year-old former Stoke City professional will add himself to the bench from now as emergency cover, having seen only three outfield players — all teenagers — able to sit alongside Danny Laws and himself in the dugout for his first game on Saturday.
He used to be the scourge of the Shed End during a Lowestoft Town spell which saw the crafty midfielder make a habit of scoring against them.
Godbold’s 500-game spell with the Trawlerboys, before going on to start his managerial career with Kirkley and Pakefield, saw him reach the 2008 FA Vase final as well as lift the Ryman League Division One North and Ridgeons League (now called Thurlow Nunn League) Premier Division titles.
And the FA regional coach development manager for the area, who was seen taking part in the warm-up to get to know his players on Saturday, is keen to do what he can on the pitch, as well as off it, if required
“I will be registering myself as a player, just to make up five subs as apposed to anything else,” he said, after recording three points at the first attempt following a 1-0 victory over Maldon and Tiptree on Saturday to keep the Yellows in the final play-off position. “But when you look at our bench Saturday and don’t have much experience, you never know.
“I think it would be silly not to, just in case it is ever needed.
“It just means I need to be getting to the gym much more frequently than I have been!”
AFC fans have been used to seeing management turn out on the pitch with Nicky Smith and Chris Tracey — the latter in his spell as assistant manager — having fielded themselves in the thick of the action.
Godbold was left frustrated, along with his players, travelling fans and officials, on Tuesday when the Suffolk club’s second attempt at playing their Robert Dyas Ryman League Cup quarter-final at higher-league Witham Town was called off due to a frozen pitch only after they had arrived at Spa Road — the pitch had been cleared playable earlier in the day.
James Baker (business trip) is set to provide a welcome selection boost for Saturday’s home game with Great Wakering Rovers (16th) — who are one of the form teams over the last six matches, having won four — but with a 3-1 defeat at leaders Harlow Town followed by Saturday’s 2-2 home draw with play-off chasing Thurrock.
Lawrence Yiga joins fellow defenders Craig Pope (two of four) and Lee Flynn (two of three) unavailable through suspension on Saturday, while Cambridge United loanees Ayrton Bevins and George Doyle have both returned to their parent club.
With confusion over whether Irish midfielder Correy Davidson is still at St Neots Town, Godbold said he is not on his list of players even if he now holds dual registration.
Witham and Sudbury will try for a third time to play their league cup game on Tuesday (7.45pm), meaning AFC’s scheduled league game with Ware has now be re-arranged for the following Tuesday, February 4.
Meanwhile, Godbold says he will very much be a tracksuit manager who likes to form a close link with his players on the training pitch.
“I am still young enough to remember what it is like to be a player and still like being involved in groups and banter and I will not lose,” he said. “I really enjoyed Saturday. I got to know the players a lot better and am excited for the rest of the season.”