Godbold: Fans can play ‘important part’ in great escape

DETERMINED: AFC boss Jamie Godbold
DETERMINED: AFC boss Jamie Godbold
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Jamie Godbold believes the AFC Sudbury supporters can play an ‘important part’ in their bid to avoid relegation this season.

The Yellows boss is preparing his side for what could be a crucial home double-header at The Wardale Williams Stadium over the next few weeks, starting with a clash against Harrow Borough this Saturday (3pm).

Back-to-back heavy defeats on the road last week have seen AFC (21st) drop into the Ryman League Premier Division relegation zone for the first time.

But ahead of hosting 14th-placed Harrow this weekend, and second-from-bottom Hendon the following week, Godbold has pointed out the importance of the AFC fans in their bid to avoid the drop in their first season at Step Three.

“We had 300 for the game against Folkestone a few weeks ago which was really good,” the Sudbury manager enthused.

“I’m hoping they can turn out in their numbers again. They’re an important part to us and give us a lift.

“I hope the supporters can come out and support us again this weekend. We really need them, as the support for the last three home games has been amazing.”

The Yellows have enjoyed considerably better fortunes at their Wardale Williams Stadium base this season, picking up 26 of their 40 points so far on their home turf.

And as they head back to home comforts this weekend off the back of two crushing defeats on their travels, losing 4-1 at Wingate & Finchley and 6-0 at Havant & Waterlooville, Godbold is set to be boosted by the return of several key players.

“It feels like we’re getting the squad back together now, which is a positive,” he said.

“You obviously want your key players in every week, but they’re coming back at a time when we really need them.

“Saturday’s game is a huge game for us and we need to make sure we go out and give everything.”

AFC captain Sam Clarke (hamstring) missed the trip to Havant last weekend through injury, but is expected to be fit enough to make the squad for this Saturday.

Midfielder Rob Eagle could feature for The Yellows for the first time since February 18, as the former Lowestoft Town man closes in on full fitness, while Craig Parker made his first start since returning from injury in the Havant game, and came through without any concerns.

Recent signing Ace Howell, from lower league Stowmarket Town, missed the two defeats last week through injury, but was anticipated to be at training this week to be assessed before the weekend.

The 6-0 loss at title-chasing Havant on Saturday was Sudbury’s joint-worst ever league defeat but, as Godbold points out, as the two teams came back out for the second half, his side were still in the game when they trailed 1-0.

“The first half we did OK,” the AFC boss reflected, “obviously we were without some key players.

“But we went with a game plan and the young lads we had did really well, they soaked up a bit of pressure.

“The goal we conceded just before half time deflated the lads a little bit.”

Ryan Woodford broke the deadlock on 42 minutes for the hosts, before Bradley Tarbuck (three), Theo Lewis and Alfie Rutherford all found the target after the break to complete an emphatic victory.

Godbold added: “While it is tough to take the positives, the young lads competed for a good hour with them.”