Baker all set for return

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Striker James Baker is set to make a welcome return to AFC Sudbury’s attack for Saturday’s home game against Witham Town (3pm).

Baker had a successful run out with the reserves on Saturday, and played most of the match – only his third game in 15 weeks – coming through with no problems as the reserves lost 3-0 to Brantham Athletic.

Manager Chris Tracey had Baker pencilled in for the Ryman League visit to Waltham Abbey last Saturday, but the game was called off in the morning because of a waterlogged pitch.

Tracey watched the reserves and said Baker was ‘delighted to get back on the pitch and be playing’ after being out for so long with a broken wrist.

“I spoke to him on Sunday, and he said there was no problem,” said Tracey. “Hopefully we will now gradually start to get our injured players back.”

Defender Ashley Sloots, who had been expected to rejoin AFC from Hadleigh United earlier this month, has now signed, and, together with the returning Ben Bowditch, is expected to be in Saturday’s squad.

Bowditch left earlier this season when the chance to play Conference South level with Hornchurch came up, having made seven appearances and scored three goals.

Tracey said there had been an understanding that the midfielder might return if that didn’t work out.

“I’m delighted he’s back,” said Tracey. “He’s experienced and can score goals, and has the right attitude. He can be an example to the younger players at the club.”

Tracey has released Danny Charge and Matt Thomas as work commitments have reduced their availability for training and matches.

Defender Matt Pooley, who made his only appearance at Soham two weeks ago, has also been released.

“I need players to be available all the time if we are to build a settled squad,” said Tracey. “I think we are a couple of players short. We need a central defender, and if we are strong at the back we can win games.

“We have some crucial games in the next few weeks, and if we come out of them with good results, and end up by doing well the rest of the season, we will all have learned something, and be stronger for it.”

n Two members of AFC Ladies have been selected for the Suffolk squad to play Essex at Brantham Athletic tonight, Helena Brodie and Marie Seabrook. Three other players — Natalie Golding, Jodie Sharp and Rebecca Thrower — are also on standby.