Batch only has eyes for league

EYES ON THE PRIZE: AFC Sudbury manager David Batch
EYES ON THE PRIZE: AFC Sudbury manager David Batch

They may have set up what he sees as their Premier League tie, but AFC Sudbury’s David Batch is only concerned about his side’s league form.

Ahead of two ‘massive’ games in what he believes will go some way to defining their Ryman League Division One North season, the manager is playing down their glamour trip to Braintree Town in the FA Trophy as nothing more than a novelty game.

The Yellows had the Wardale Williams Stadium rocking on its foundations after Lawrence Yiga produced a goal deserving of winning any cup game on Tuesday night against higher-league St Neots Town, but while the supporters are rubbing their hands at the prospect of witnessing a giant killing act at Cressing Road a week on Saturday, Batch would take a league win over hitting national headlines.

“Was it my greatest moment (at AFC Sudbury)? No. It was not our best performance, but we did enough,” he said. “It is the equivalent of a League Two side going to a Premier League team way from home in the FA Cup third round.

“But for me, if you said ‘Braintree or Aveley, which would you rather win?’ It is Aveley, because it is the more important one, especially when you look at the table.”

With results proving 
kind to them in their absence, having seen a replay with St Neots supersede Tuesday’s scheduled league home game with Soham Town Rangers, AFC remain in sixth place with only goal difference 
preventing them from occupying a top-five play-off 

Aveley sit two places and three points below them ahead of travelling to Suffolk on Saturday (3pm), while Tuesday’s trip to Batch’s former club Wroxham (7.45pm) sees them go up against a side currently third in the table and eight points better off than themselves, having played a game more.

And Batch believes Saturday is a day they must take advantage of, while the trip to Vanarama Conference Premier outfit Braintree is seen more as a nice day out.

“Saturday sees four of 
the five teams above us all playing each other, so it 
(Aveley) is an important match for us,” he said, in a game 
he is set to still be without James Baker (hamstring) and Kris Newby (hamstring and suspension) for, while Correy Davidson (also hamstring) should return. “Whatever happens at Braintree, it is all a bit of romance — it is not real life.

“Even if we get a result after taking them back to our place, we are not going to win the FA Trophy.

“We are already one of the only clubs left in it at our level, and certainly the only club in our league, and there are not many from step four.

“It says a lot about our players and what they have done.”

He added: “But for me, the league is your bread and butter and we want to finish as high as we can and improve on last season (14th).”

The AFC chief will be 
hoping Tuesday’s intense match will not have left too much damage on a pitch, which was heavily dowsed with sand only last week, ahead of the town’s water meadows flooding.