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AFC set to introduce artificial pitch for 2015/16

Latest sport news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter
Latest sport news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

Plans for an artificial main pitch at AFC Sudbury are in the final stages as the club looks to become the first semi-professional side in Suffolk to play on a 3G surface.

Director Richard Instance is hoping to make an announcement in the coming days after revealing they are down to just two contractors bidding to get the job.

And recently-recruited first-team manager Jamie Godbold will be delighted if the timescale of having it up-and-running in time for next season gets the green light by planning authority Babergh District Council.

“It would be fantastic for the club and the type of football I want to play,” he said. “As a team italso means we have somewhere to train, as it has been difficult to find somewhere to do something worthwhile over the last few weeks.”

He added: “It will benefit the club massively from top to bottom.”

The club are desperate to have the new surface in place in time to launch their full-time academy at the start of next season, and will outline their plans to use it during an academy information evening next Friday, a day later than previously advertised.

Instance said: “We are waiting for the final few pieces to be put in place before we can proceed.

“We have been at meeting with contractors and consultants and have narrowed it down to the final two contractors.

“We are in the process of a planning application and we are very hopeful we will be in a position to start at the end of this season.”

Meanwhile, third-placed AFC are set to welcome 16th-place Heybridge Swifts on Saturday (3pm) with only three more home games scheduled.

Godbold went to watch them in their 3-3 draw at Brentwood Town, but left five minutes early, with Swifts leading 3-1 at that stage.

“It will be a tough game and they have certainly got some strength,” he said.

The central defensive crisis which saw Kryan Clements pull out of the Suffolk Under-18s squad to play in the pleasing 1-1 draw at in-form Tilbury on Saturday has been eased slightly with Ryan Henshaw coming back from suspension.

But James Baker and Lee Flynn have a further game to sit out, while Kris Newby has two games to run.

Godbold explained that with it being Clements’ last year at under-18 level, he has decided to commit to AFC’s senior squad for the rest of the season and forgo one last game in the county side.

“It was a difficult decision for him,” he said. “The county has been a good experience for him over the last couple of years.

“He was excellent on Saturday though, very composed on the ball, and the county’s loss is Sudbury’s gain.”

The point at Tilbury may have halted the chance for three straight wins, but Godbold was delighted to keep his record of only tasting one defeat in 10 matches now intact.

“Under the circumstance we left Tilbury quite satisfied with a point,” he said, having used Sam Clarke as a makeshift centre-half.

n Behind-the-scenes former director Keith Morris has returned to the club after moving back to the area.

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