Fitness fight for Baker in a bid to face his former club

BATTLING: James Baker has his sights set on being fit for Saturday's FA Trophy tie at Braintree
BATTLING: James Baker has his sights set on being fit for Saturday's FA Trophy tie at Braintree

AFC Sudbury striker James Baker is battling to get fit for Saturday’s FA Trophy first round proper tie at Braintree Town (3pm).

Baker, who injured a hamstring in the third qualifying round tie at St Neots two weeks ago, did some light training on Tuesday and will step things up at training tonight as he bids to make the squad to face one of his former clubs.

“It’s still in the balance whether I’ll be fit,” he said. “But, from a personal point of view, I would love to go back to where I started and made a name for myself. It’s a big game and one I would look forward to playing in.”

The Cressing Road club, currently 18th in the Vanarama Conference Premier table, had Sudbury watched last Saturday when Aveley picked up a 3-0 win at the Wardale Williams Stadium.

“We seem to do quite well away from home against higher league clubs,” said Baker. “This one is a bit more of a challenge, but it’s good for the players, especially the younger ones, to be involved in games like this.”

Although promotion remains the priority for the club, manager David Batch says AFC will travel to Braintree to ‘give it a go and try to put on a show.’

Despite suffering two defeats in the league in the last few days — 3-0 at home to Aveley on Saturday, 2-0 at Wroxham on Tuesday — AFC are still in contention, only three points from the play-off 
places.

“We have half a season to play,” said Batch. “Can we catch up? Yes. Will we? I think we have been a bit more consistent recently, and we have to make sure we kick on.”

He felt that Sam Clarke’s sending off against Aveley was harsh and changed the course of the game.

“Despite not playing well, we would have got something with 11 players,” he said.

On the injury front, apart from Baker, both Kris Newby and Correy Davidson are doubtful for Saturday.

Davidson came on as a second half substitute on Saturday, but injury kept him out of the squad at Wroxham. Newby played for an hour on Tuesday before having to come off.

n If a replay is necessary, it will be at the Wardale Williams Stadium on Tuesday, otherwise Thurlow Nunn Premier side Mildenhall Town will be the visitors in the quarter-final of the Suffolk Premier Cup (7.45pm).