Tom Monk tips AFC Sudbury to achieve their Bostik League play-off target with best brand of football
Tom Monk believes he has not seen a Bostik League North Division side playing better football than what he has experienced across his first two games at AFC Sudbury.
The 21-year-old forward recruited from high-flying divisional rivals Coggeshall Town at the end of last week therefore believes his new club have been in a false position.
With a quarter of the season gone at the start of the month, AFC boss Mark Morsley defiantly declared their 15th place league position did not concern him, despite the stated target being a top five play-off promotion challenge.
But back-to-back wins over the last week – a 2-0 win at top-10 side Canvey Island followed by Tuesday’s thrilling 5-3 first home win at Brentwood Town’s expense – has seen them rise up to ninth and five points off the top five.
Monk, who scored 25 goals for Coggeshall in 38 appearances as the big spenders co-owned by popstar Olly Murs won promotion from the Thurlow Nunn League as champions last season, took just 24 minutes to open his goal account for his new club. And only the post denied him claiming two in two on Tuesday.
“A debut goal and assist was perfect, especially considering I had not been playing as much as I had wanted to and therefore not scoring as much as I was,” said the player who started out at Colchester United’s academy with Callum Harrison.
“It just makes me even happier and hopefully it is the start of many. I know they are aspiring to get back to where they were as soon as possible and from the way they play that is what they deserve as it is definitely the best football that I have seen in this league.
“I like to think I have already fitted in very well here and I have been made to feel very welcome.
“I think I’m off to a good start. I see them definitely scoring, as I say, they are the best footballing side I’ve seen, and I would like to think I add the finishing touch; the more direct aspect. Mark told me that is what he needed when he brought me in; to add the last piece of the puzzle.”
Morsley said of his new recruit: “He’s only 21 and his best years are in front of him, like so many players at our club. Bringing young Tom Monk in gives us that directness on the right flank.
“We have had to rely on Jordan Blackwell a lot and I know there is a bit of risk in our play, as he doesn’t know how to defend. He is a powerful offensive player. But sometimes a player like that attracts two markers.”
Monk is excited about being able to learn from former professional Paul Hayes to develop his skills in front of goal further, and revealed he is capable of forming a telepathic relationship with good friend Harrison.
“I know him very well. I spent about six years with him at Colchester. He is a good lad and a good player; he is perfect to play with and we are on the same wave length,” he said.
Monk described his move to AFC as ‘fate’, having begun honing his football talents as a five-year-old under Yellows’ coach Paul Skingley at Maningtree Leisure Centre, while the manager owns an office just down the road from his house.
“This would have been my fifth season at Coggeshall and in terms of non-league clubs they are the only one I have been at and I think it was just healthy to see what else was out there,” he added.
“I think it was needed as well. It came at the right time.
“I know a couple of boys from my Colchester days, so the move was just perfect and Mark obviously felt the same as he put a seven-day approach in and got in touch.”
Of Tuesday’s dramatic home debut, a pulsating 5-3 victory over Brentwood Town, he said: “I was glad I got over 80 minutes as I am not fully match-fit.
“It was an eight-goal thriller that had everything. I hit the post, which was just my luck, but they’ll come.”
Morsley’s side host fourth-placed in-form Grays Athletic on Saturday (3pm) looking to halt their opponents’ three-game winning run to string a trio of wins together, across all competitions, for the first time this season.
And their manager thinks Tuesday’s test will have done them good as they look to push on up the league.
“We are looking for improvements not just in our play, as I think technically we are a good side, but what I want to see is games like tonight when we are under intense pressure and we can keep possession of the ball, which is what we have done,” he said. “It is November and I was never concerned about our league position.”