Batch: ‘It feels like we have four new players’

LIKE A NEW SIGNING: Jamie Forshaw returned in the cup quarter-final 4-1 win at Harlow Town on Tuesday
LIKE A NEW SIGNING: Jamie Forshaw returned in the cup quarter-final 4-1 win at Harlow Town on Tuesday

He may have only added twice to his squad in the last week, but AFC Sudbury boss David Batch feels his side have been buoyed by four new signings.

The King’s Marsh-based club booked their place in the semi-finals of the Robert Dyas Ryman League Cup on Tuesday with an excellent 4-1 win at divisional rivals Harlow Town.

But for Batch, the game was more significant for the impact of four players who he believes can help his side make a run for the play-offs as games begin to come thick and fast.

After one-month deals were announced on Friday for Cambridge United teenagers Ryan Horne and James Akintude, Batch felt the returns of Michael Shinn and Jamie Forshaw were equally important, ahead of eight scheduled games in February.

“The two boys who have come in will have to prove themselves, but based on Tuesday night, they will do that,” he said of Glemsford-based left-footed central midfielder Horne and pacey winger or forward Akintude.

“We are actually bringing in four players; them two and Michael Shinn and Jamie Forshaw.”

Both of the latter have spent several months on the sidelines with knee injuries.

“Shinn is an experienced player who is one of the best midfielders in this division and his return is big for us,” said the Yellows’ boss.

“He was being physically sick before and after the game because of illness, but wanted to get minutes on his knee.

“For his 60 minutes you would never have known he had missed a game.”

Of former King’s Lynn Town striker Forshaw, who scored AFC’s fourth in stoppage time, Batch said: “It was a great goal— that’s nine goals now and he has missed 12 weeks of this season; it’s unbelievable.”

Batch was also full of praise for Cambridge United Reserves’ captain Horne, who put in a standout performance, scoring on his debut.

“He passed the ball excellently and he had a really good delivery and scored a good goal as well,” said Batch, who was very much keeping his feet on the ground after winning through to a semi-final.

“It is just another game we have to fit in,” he said, while also expressing his delight at the performance, which he has challenged his players to maintain on a vastly-different surface at 12th-placed Redbridge on Saturday (3pm) before travelling to eighth-placed Needham Market on Tuesday (7.45pm) for a rearranged Suffolk derby.

Horne and Akintude’s arrival has led to Ricky Spriggs moving on loan to Thurlow Nunn League side FC Clacton to regain match sharpness.

Steve Spriggs (knee) and Greg Crane (back) will face fitness tests ahead of the trip to Redbridge.