RYMAN LEAGUE: AFC Sudbury manager promising a busy week of transfers

UNDER PRESSURE: AFC Sudbury manager Jamie Godbold is taking with overturning a four-point deficit with just five matches of their season remaining

UNDER PRESSURE: AFC Sudbury manager Jamie Godbold is taking with overturning a four-point deficit with just five matches of their season remaining

0
Have your say

With the transfer window affecting clubs at Ryman League level closing on Friday, Jamie Godbold is preparing to work overtime to bring in the players he believes he needs to keep AFC Sudbury at their current level.

In one of his frankest interviews yet, in the aftermath of Saturday's 4-0 home drubbing in their relegation 'six-pointer' with Hendon, the AFC boss revealed he is expecting plenty of comings and goings at the club this week in a 'last roll of the dice' to stave off relegation from the Isthmian League's top tier (step three of the non-league pyramid).

He also gave frank answers on being asked to explain the departures on loan of league medal-winning youngsters Jordan Blackwell and Liam Wales, at a time when Godbold named himself on the bench on Saturday, such was his depleted options.

Asked if the suffering Sudbury fans can expect some business ahead of the transfer deadline day for their level, Godbold replied: "Yes. I think we need to. We have almost a week to almost give it a last throw of the dice.

"Obviously the downside is one of the things that has contributed to us being in the situation anyway; in terms of us maybe now being six, seven, eight players who have hardly played with each other before.

"So the players we bring in have got to be quality.

MOVING ON UP: Kieran Monlouis has opted to leave AFC Sudbury after making just eight appearances, having now signed for National League St Albans  Picture: Clive Pearson

MOVING ON UP: Kieran Monlouis has opted to leave AFC Sudbury after making just eight appearances, having now signed for National League St Albans Picture: Clive Pearson

"It will be difficult to bring in players of the quality we want, but it can be done."

With The Yellows lying second-from-bottom of the division and now four points from safety - having been three ahead of Saturday's game and two at the same time the week before - Godbold remains defiant his management team and players have not thrown in the towel yet, despite the negative body language clearly evident on the pitch on Saturday.

"We have not given up and we will be working hard; on the pitch with the players that we have and off the pitch to bring in players we think can make a difference and give us the chance to stay up this season."

Of Saturday's horror-show, he said: "It was very disappointing, obviously. We are a team obviously low on confidence and nothing seems to be going for us.

LOANED OUT: Jordan Blackwell will finish the season away from The Wardale Williams Stadium at Thurlow Nunn League Stanway Rovers  Picture: Mark Westley

LOANED OUT: Jordan Blackwell will finish the season away from The Wardale Williams Stadium at Thurlow Nunn League Stanway Rovers Picture: Mark Westley

"Decisions that players are making, we keep picking up little injuries, as we did today, more suspensions, and I guess that is what happens when you are at the bottom.

"I think we just need to stay positive, but also recognise we need to take responsibility and take accountability for our position, and we will keep fighting until the fat lady sings, as they say.

"The over-riding message of the team talk afterwards was that if the fight and the effort and everything that comes with that: if that's not you then it is probably best to hold your hands up and just say and we will bring people in who can.

"It is hard to know what to say and what the answers are, as we have tried most things. But we have got to dig deep now.

"We have two training sessions before Saturday and ultimately it is still the same from what I said last week: three wins is what is required. It is still three wins, but the only problem is we have made a job a lot harder."

Godbold has used a high volume of players this season and one of his recent additions, former Crystal Palace, Stoke City and Charlton Athletic midfielder Kieran Monlouis, has already moved on, having only last month said he was committed to rebuilding his career by shining at Sudbury.

The AFC boss explained: "Kieran called me Thursday and said his agent had been busy and St Albans (two leagues higher than Sudbury) was a good opportunity for him, which I don't disagree with. And ultimately, if players do not want to be here in this period, then they are better off being out of the door.

"I guess he had had one good game for us and the other games he had contributed to conceding a lot of goals for us.

"So, if I am honest, I am not too disappointed to lose him.

"I am disappointed to lose him because on his day he can be excellent, as you saw on his first game, but he was too inconsistent and not willing to stay here."

Jordan Blackwell, having made a rapid rise from AFC's academy to star in the first team's title-winning side last season, will not feature for the club again this season, and may have played his last game for AFC, having decided to go out on loan two leagues lower at Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division outfit Stanway Rovers.

"He has obviously become frustrated at a lack of football and wants to play, as do all young kids do," said Godbold. "I offered him a decision, and he took it.

"I am not saying he didn't want to stay and fight for his place, because I have known him long enough now to know he just wants to play football, but we could not offer him that.

"What we need here is wide players that can create and score goals. And as hard as he works, this season has been tough for him.

"Certainly something I have learnt from it is that it is a real physical, demanding league.

"He is still young and has his whole career ahead of him and I hope he enjoys playing the last month of the season, but I hope he has learnt from it as well."

Asked if Blackwell was still in his thoughts for next season, or if he had played his last game for the club, Godbold replied: "No, it is too early to say that. We know what he can do, but we just need more of it, and some.

"His frustration is he had a good season last year and feels like he has gone backwards. But he hasn't gone backwards, it is just the level has got a lot tougher and the tools that he needs to play at this level, he currently hasn't got. And so he needs games to make sure that he can.

"I have no doubt that he will fly at Stanway and if he had gone anywhere else in the league below, he would have done well because he has a league winner's medal, which not a lot of people can say.

"But this level at this moment in time, for him, has just been challenging."

Winger-turned-striker Liam Wales has also been sent out on loan in the last few weeks, going to Thetford Town in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division.

With AFC short on striking options, Godbold was also pressed on that decision and asked if it was the same situation as explained with Blackwell.

"It is similar for Liam," he said. "At the start of the season we would throw him on and he would get goals for us, but they have dried up and if he is not coming off the bench and contributing in that way, it is best he goes and enjoys his football.

"Ultimately what we don't want is a dressing room full of people that don't want to be here; I am not saying he did not want to be here, I am just saying he wants to play football, like everyone does.

"Liam is a great lad, and him and Jordan have been tremendous for us for the last two years, but we are well aware we have come up a level and some people are going to sink and some people are going to swim."

* For all the latest breaking news in the run-up to transfer deadline day across all our teams in the Ryman League (AFC Sudbury, Bury Town, Needham Market and Soham Town Rangers), keep updated via our websites and social media accounts (via @russclaydon and @liamapicella on Twitter).