Smith in talks on AFC future

AFC Sudbury V Henddon''AFC Sudbury manager Nicky Smith
AFC Sudbury V Henddon''AFC Sudbury manager Nicky Smith

AFC manager Nicky Smith was last night in talks with his chairman to decide whether his future lies at King’s Marsh.

Smith, whose contract is about to expire, admitted to almost walking out of football in December after being disciplined by the FA for alleged comments made to a referee following the cup exit to Bury Town.

But with the touchpaper on the Yellows’ promotion push having being lit following Leyton’s results being expunged, and two wins on the spin after Tuesday, he now looks short odds to stay on.

Following a superb 3-0 win at thrid-placed Wingate & Finchley on Saturday, AFC repeated the scoreline against lowly Redbridge at home on Tuesday, ahead of the visit of league-leaders East Thurrock United on Saturday (3pm) - with AFC now just one point from a play-off place.

But Smith, who saw Dubi Ogbonna leave after just three games and released fellow frontman Lee Townrow for unacceptable discipline, is banking on chairman Phil Turner aiding his quest to bring in another striker.

“We will just wait and see, we need to get someone in,” he said. “I have a meeting with the chairman Wednesday night so we will see where we go.

“It is about everything, including my future. I will sit down with him and discuss where we go.”

Smith had targeted a play-off place at the start of the season, with many fancying AFC for promotion after they received a lateral transfer back to the predominately east-London based Ryman League from the predominately Midlands-based Southern League - a league the club felt was holding them back.

But after an inconsistent campaign, dogged by a high turnover in players, it is only now that Smith’s charges are really making the sort of push needed for coveted top five spot.

Teenage talent Ryan Henshaw scored a screamer in Saturday’s win, after returning to the club from Chelmsford City - where he failed to make an appearance - and he firmly believes AFC have a great chance of extending their season via the play-offs.

“It is a massive few games,” he said looking ahead to East Thurrock on Saturday and then the visit of Tilbury on Tuesday (7.45pm). “Hopefully we can carry the run on. We have a massive chance of fifth place.”

Speaking of his brief spell at Conference South side Chelmsford, following a trial at Colchester United that ended in disappointment, he said: “At the moment I need to walk before I can run. I feel at Sudbury I get more minutes on the pitch and when Nicky Smith said ‘do you want to come back?’ it was a weight off my shoulders as I want to play more.”