AFC Sudbury’s Jemel Fox can’t wait to put his suspension nightmare behind him and force his way back into the side.
After 14 games kicking his heels on the sidelines, the supporters’ player of the year is ready to aid Sudbury’s bid to rise back up the Ryman League Division One North table.
The nephew of Norwich City legend Ruel Fox is available for selection for the first time on Saturday since his 52-day ban for laying hands on a referee and then failing to give his name in a six-a-side league in Ipswich expired.
“I cannot wait to get back playing. It was a stupid mistake to make in the first place, but I am only young and no-one is perfect,” said the 20-year-old ahead of AFC returning to league action against Chatham Town (3pm) after five successive cup games.
“It is going to be tough to get back in the team, but you have just got to be yourself and work hard in training. I feel like I can push myself back in the squad.”
Fox, who made his debut in February 2010 as a left-sided attacking player brought in from Needham Market, helped fill a left-back crisis midway through last season after putting himself forward, having played there as a 16-year-old.
He then earned himself the supporters’ player of the year award after a string of sensational performances covering for the injured Danny Swain.
And after watching on during his lengthy suspension, when he continued the arduous commute from Ipswich by train while also helping with the youth section, Fox is glad cup distractions are now out of the way with Sudbury still looking for their second league win.
“As a player I am happy to be out of the cups,” he said. “It is one of those things where you are struggling in the league and you go and beat people in the cup and might not win that but we are 20th in the league (one point off bottom) and need to be worried about it as that is where it counts.”
Fox, the vice-president of Suffolk New College’s Students’ Union, who recently returned from 10 days volunteering in Kenya, faces fierce competition to reclaim the left-back spot with Bury Town’s title-winner Ashley Sloots the current occupier and Swain also chomping at the bit to get some action.
Meanwhile, manager Chris Tracey is continuing to seek international clearance for midfielder Rhys Darg to make a playing return after his season in Sweden finished in promotion.
Like at Eastbourne Borough in the FA Cup, the AFC boss believed his side can take great heart from Saturday’s 3-1 FA Trophy exit at Arlesey Town.
“It was a disappointing defeat again in a cup competition from a team in a higher league and yet again we deserved a draw,” he said.
l AFC would face Great Wakering Rovers away in the league on Tuesday night if Chelmsford City draw in the FA Cup with Gloucester City on Saturday, therefore requiring a replay and preventing a county cup tie with Rovers going ahead.