Tracey keen to develop AFC stars of the future

SHINING LIGHT: Ryan Henshaw, who has nailed down a first team place as a teenager.
SHINING LIGHT: Ryan Henshaw, who has nailed down a first team place as a teenager.

AFC Sudbury manager Chris Tracey is prepared to keep faith in youth after watching two of his academy graduates star in the 4-3 penalty victory over Suffolk and league rivals Needham Market in their Alan Boon Cup fourth round tie on Tuesday night.

The manager handed starting places to 16-year-old Luke Nicoll and 17-year-old Jacob Brown and although it was keeper Danny Gay’s heroics in the penalty shoot-out, clinched progression for the visitors, it was the two teenagers that caught the eye of Tracey.

“I see this competition as a chance to blood some of the younger players,” he said. “I had a 16-year-old lad up front and a 17-year-old in midfield and this will have certainly helped them develop and that is something we will continue to try and do.

“Both looked comfortable and they both have good ability on the ball which is what we look for in our players.”

AFC host Maldon and Tiptree at The MEL Group stadium tomorrow (3pm) in what will be the second meeting between the sides in 11 days.

Sudbury won that fixture 3-2, but after being held to a 2-2 draw on Saturday by Romford, Tracey is hoping to get back to winning ways though is fully aware that three points are not guaranteed.

“Tuesday’s result allowed us to start building on a winning momentum,” he added. “However, we will have to be at our best to beat Maldon.”

l AFC, the only Ryman One North side left in the competition, have been drawn to play Ryman Premier Sussex-based high-flyers Lewes in the quarter-final of the Alan Boon (Ryman League) Cup with ties due to be played in the week beginning January 16.