Jules Mumford is hoping to add two new signings to his Long Melford squad, but will be sticking by Dan Smith in the wake of his six-game ban.
The teenage summer signing from AFC Sudbury landed himself in hot water after swearing at the referee who sent him off after coming off the bench in the 3-2 defeat at Leiston in mid-September.
The full-back or midfielder extended his punishment after a bad challenge saw him see red again in the First Division Knockout Cup penalties defeat at Haverhill Borough a month later.
Goalkeeper Sam Mansfield is about to start his two-game suspension from the same game, with his red coming after the final whistle.
And while Mumford is happy to give Smith a second chance, he has warned the pair will have to fight to regain their places, with a midfielder and striker being lined up to come in for Saturday’s game at home to King’s Lynn Town Reserves (3pm).
“Dan is only a young lad of 18/19 and is unable to play for six games, and has already served three,” he said. “It is a lesson for him, but I will be sticking by him.”
Ahead of a game which could see them become the Thurlow Nunn League First Division’s outright leaders, following their 14-day break, veteran goalkeeper Darren Moyes — brought in a dual role as a player-coach from Hadleigh United — set for his second game, with the number one shirt his to lose.
Former Ipswich Town midfielder Jamie Griffiths, who has five goals in 11 appearances, is set to return after recovering from a hamstring injury.
“He has been brilliant for us,” said the Villagers’ boss, who believes their 3-2 success up at King’s Lynn was their best result, ahead of expecting another tough test Saturday.
Hadleigh United go into back-to-back games at the Millfield with Stanway Rovers, in the Premier Division Saturday (3pm) and then the Red Insure Thurlow Nunn League Cup on Tuesday (7.45pm) with Tes Bramble having played his first 90 minutes.
The 0-0 draw at Mildenhall Town also saw the former Southend United player return to his familiar forward role, having made his recent return from retirement as a centre-back.
“He will reap the benefits of that 90 minutes and we will see how he goes up front,” said manager Stuart Crawford, who is still without goalkeeper Ben Nower, defenders Paul Donnelly and Ashley Sloots and midfielder Luke Hammond, who are all injured.
Meanwhile, Crawford confirmed 33-year-old midfielder Neil Calver has been released from the club following a decision made from the club’s committee after an incident which saw him sent off for violent conduct at Newmarket.