Isthmian League: Mark Morsley 'left scratching his head' after AFC Sudbury Academy star Ross Crane leaves seemingly for Bury Town move
Mark Morsley said he has been left baffled as to why Ross Crane would leave AFC Sudbury mid-way through his academy course seemingly to join divisional west Suffolk rivals Bury Town – with that move not yet rubber stamped.
But he has revealed he will not be actively searching for a replacement with left-sided defenders Daryl Coakley and promising academy player Harry Critchley in his squad.
Crane, who is understood to turn 17 later this month, was one of the academy stars to break into Morsley’s first team last season, keeping experienced former Needham Market player Coakley out of the side at the back end of the season as he made 14 appearances.
He went on to play a key role in Danny Laws’ under-18s side winning another county cup and Thurlow Nunn League Youth Championship double, before shining as an attacking left-sided player on the academy’s USA tour. He scored the golden goal in the final against Downton LSVC as they won the Albion Las Vegas Memorial Day Cup and ended as the club’s top scorer in the tournament with four goals.
But he was absent from Sudbury’s first pre-season friendly, a 7-0 home defeat to National League South play-off semi-finalists Chelmsford City on Saturday, and was later revealed to have played for Bury Town at Debenham LC.
Having been informed he was leaving Sudbury’s academy with a year still to complete, and having already agreed a first-team squad place with Morsley, the Yellows chief said: “I am clearly disappointed because he is a good footballer and we gave him a chance last year.
“He turned down better offers to stay with us because of the career pathway at Sudbury.
“It is a shame as he is a good lad.
“I am still scratching my head because I do not know why he has done it.”
It is understood Crane, who is represented by the same agent as Ipswich Town’s Jack Lankester, could be looking to pick up the second year of his BTEC Diploma at the West Suffolk College course run by Bury Town manager Ben Chenery and Needham Market boss Richard Wilkins, should his move to Ram Meadow go through.
Meanwhile, Sudbury’s players are set to be required to advertise a betting company on their shirt sleeves after the Isthmian League (formerly known under the Bostik title sponsor) announced a major new sponsorship deal with BetVictor, which is sponsoring all Step 3 and 4 leagues across the country. Sudbury’s league will now be officially known as The BetVictor Isthmian League North Division.
The 2019/20 season fixtures are set to be published tonight at 6pm while the early rounds of the FA Cup will be released tomorrow (see our website for the releases as they happen).