After securing the services of Ryan Horne, AFC Sudbury manager Mark Morsley believes he has given his attacking options a significant and much-needed boost.
Former Cambridge United Reserves captain Horne, who made 21 appearances for AFC during a loan stint in 2013/14, returned to the club on a permanent basis from higher-league St Neots Town earlier this week.
The 22-year-old spent much of last season operating in the heart of Soham Town Rangers’ midfield, but Morsley sees Horne featuring a little further up the pitch as he seeks to improve Sudbury’s record of having scored just one goal from open play in their last six outings.
“When I first took the Sudbury job (in October) I spoke to Matty Clements over at St Neots about Ryan, but he was getting in there at the time,” said Morsley, who had Horne on loan in his time as Needham Market boss.
“But Ryan lives in Glemsford and I think perhaps travelling all that way was taking its toll. We have certainly benefited locality wise.
“I see him playing just behind the striker — a player that breaks the lines and makes those third-man runs from midfield.
“It is something we do from time to time, but not often enough and that, for me, is Ryan’s best position.
“Ben Hunter and Ollie Peters have done well in that position, but they are still developing and need some support.
“Ryan is a little bit further down the line in terms of his experience, so we think he can hit the ground running.
“He should score some goals, but he will also be able to see that pass in the final third that we have been lacking at times.
“It is another step closer to getting the squad I want going forward.”
Providing he comes through tonight’s training session unscathed, Horne is set to make his first appearance in a Sudbury shirt for three years at home against Dereham Town on Saturday (3pm).
That is followed by a trip to Mildenhall Town on Boxing Day (1pm), with the Suffolk rivals having already faced off three times in all competitions this term.
Morsley’s men are winless in their last six fixtures, but he believes more performances of the ilk that earned them a 1-1 draw against Hertford Town on Tuesday will soon reverse that form.
“It is a busy time of year, but if we can show some consistency, the wins will come,” added the boss.
“I was really pleased with the Hertford performance and if we can match that over Christmas, we should pick up some good results.
“People need to realise we stripped things right down and are starting with a blank canvas.
“We are building for the future, and Tuesday showed what we are capable of.”
n Morsley also confirmed academy product Ollie Dunlop was allowed to leave the club to seek regular match action elsewhere.