AFC Sudbury manager Jamie Godbold has challenged his squad to embrace their favourites tag and fulfil their league title aspirations.
An emphatic 5-1 victory over 10-man basement-boys Redbridge on Saturday maintained the Yellows’ charge to the Ryman League Division One North championship, where they sit 12 points clear of nearest rivals Thurrock.
Their numerical advantage has led to promotion-rival Harlow Town’s manager Danny Chapman conceding the title to AFC with nine matches remaining and although Godbold admitted their position is unknown territory for the majority of his squad, he has backed them to thrive under the pressure and continue their assault for silverware.
“I want the players to be ruthless. Everyone is naming us as champions already so we are under a different kind of pressure but I’ve told them to meet it head on and show what we are capable of,” he said.
“There is no point in us worrying about what other people are saying, everyone is saying it is ours to lose and so we have to embrace that and make sure we prove them right.
“You have to welcome that sort of pressure and the lads are responding brilliantly to that.
“It is a relatively new position for a lot of the squad, particularly the younger lads but they at the moment they have a consistency and a ruthlessness that we need to win the title.
“However, there is still nine games to go and a lot of points to play for so we have to just focus on ourselves and make sure we keep doing what we are doing and chalking off results.”
Sudbury could take another giant step towards getting their hands on the league trophy with seventh successive victory in a crucial trip to fourth-placed AFC Hornchurch (3pm) with the manager calling on his side to build on Saturday’s rampant second-half display which saw them score four times in a 20 minute period.
“Performance wise we were okay first-half but credit to the players because they responded and were excellent after the break,” he added.
“It was good to get a few goals and boost our goal difference and so we need to build on that momentum on Saturday.
“The next game against Hornchurch is another big game and really we need to treat all of our remaining matches like cup finals.
“We just need to keep ticking off games and collecting those three points, that is all we are focused on.”
n Meanwhile, the club are appealing for information from any spectators who witnessed an incident that occurred in the player’s entrance during the second half of Saturday’s game against Redbridge when one of the visiting players was being escorted from the pitch.
Anyone willing to make a statement should contact the club on 01787 376213 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org