Tough to build a team mid-season

LEARNING ON THE JOB: Morsley has admitted he is experimenting with his team when he thinks he can, to learn their strengths and weaknesses
LEARNING ON THE JOB: Morsley has admitted he is experimenting with his team when he thinks he can, to learn their strengths and weaknesses

The team he fielded against Canvey Island on Saturday is believed to be the youngest in the club’s history, with an average age of just 22.

And the side that beat Haverhill Borough at home on Tuesday night in the Suffolk Premier Cup was even younger. Morsley said he chose to play the young side as it was an opportunity to give the newly-promoted academy players invaluable experience.

He said: “It’s obviously not ideal to be building a team at this stage but that’s where we are.

“It’s difficult but I quickly made the decision when I arrived that I didn’t see a future at AFC for some of the players.

“I’m in a great position because of the Academy to bring in other players.

“I’m proud of my track record on giving the kids a chance.

“And they have to know that if they play well, they start the next game — Alfie Carroll has proved that.

“If we had been playing a league game, we would have changed tactics and looked to cut out the midfield, but it was an opportunity for me to get to know the players better.

“I mean no disrespect to the competition or Haverhill, but I have not had a pre-season with these players.

“So these competitions are a perfect way for me to do that.

“I won the Premier Cup last year with Needham Market so it is a competition I take seriously and want to win, but it’s also a chance to gain experience and learn what my first team is.

“I think the pressure is off us in both the FA Trophy and the next round of the Premier Cup.”

AFC travel to Imber Court to face the Metropolitan Police on Saturday (3pm) in the first round qualifying of the FA Trophy.

Morsley has said there is no pressure on his team against the Step 3 side and wanted to see a performance full of desire and intelligence.

“Sometimes it’s about the performance, not the result,” he said. “It’s a massive game to learn from, win or lose.”

It has been confirmed that former player Joe Claridge has returned to Maldon & Tiptree after 14 appearances, Julian Smith has signed for Aveley and Jake Turner is back at Brightlingsea Regent.

Meanwhile defender Will Crisell, Suffolk U18s captain last season, suffered a suspected broken wrist on only his second appearance for the club after arriving from Needham Market.