AFC Sudbury manager Mark Morsley explains heavy pre-season friendly schedule including Ipswich Town and Colchester United visits
AFC Sudbury have announced they will build up to the new Bostik League North Division season with 10 pre-season friendlies, including glamour home games against an Ipswich Town side believed to be a mix of first-team and fringe players looking to catch the eye of manager Paul Lambert.
Before Ipswich visit on Saturday, July 20 (2pm), Morsley's will have already put his squad through four games, and has five games lined up to follow.
He admits the schedule, listed in full below, is a heavy one, but is something that has been carefully planned to look at young academy players who he may want to become the next breakthrough acts at the club, to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Liam Bennett, Ross Crane, Baris Altintop, Joe Grimwood and Ben Hammett.
"We will be using a lot of bodies in pre-season," he said.
"I have obviously seen a great deal of what are going to be the second year scholars (on academy tour of Las Vegas and dugout role with AFC Sudbury A) and a lot of those lads have caught my eye, so I want to have a closer look at them and check them out and that is what I am going to do.
"It is a heavy schedule but one that will be managed accordingly."
He continued: "So much of our style of play is all about possession still and that will not change. And the best way to practice that is getting out on the pitch."
Asked if it was a Paul Lambert-led team for Ipswich game, he replied: "I think so. We have Colchester down as Colchester Under-23s but in theory it could be a strong side. You never actually know until they turn up.
"I am thinking it will be a mixed side. Colchester will announce it nearer the time."
After getting his players in, including new signing Sean Marks, for their first pre-season training session on Tuesday, July 2, the first warm-up match comes just four days later on Saturday, July 6 at home to National League South outfit Chelmsford City (3pm).
He is expected both sides to look to field two teams across the 90 minutes.
The following Thursday (July 11, 7.45pm) sees a trip to Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division Walsham-le-Willows, before higher-league Leiston (Evo-Stik League South Premier Division Central) visit King's Marsh on Saturday, July 13 (3pm).
That is followed by the visit of Bostik League Premier Division Haringey Borough on Tuesday, July 16 (7.45pm) before a third home game on the spin when Ipswich arrive on the Saturday (2pm).
Another two home games follow on the club's 3G pitch, against lower-league Brantham Athletic on Tuesday, July 23 (7.45pm) and now higher-league Cray Wanderers, following their recent promotion from Sudbury's division, on Saturday, July 27 (3pm).
An away game at Thurlow Nunn League First Division South Harwich & Parkeston comes on Tuesday, July 30 (7.45pm) before Morsley takes his side to his former club, higher-league Needham Market (Evo-Stik League South Premier Division Central) on Friday, August 2 (7.30pm).
A Colchester United side, thought to be made up of under-23s development players, are set to visit King's Marsh on Tuesday, August 6 (7.45pm) in the last scheduled match ahead of the season's big kick-off.
The club have their Bostik League season getting under way on Saturday, August 17, giving them a week and a half without a game leading up to it.
Morsley said: "Haringey Borough are a very good side and Cray Wanderers are run by a great mate of mine and they are a good footballing side, so that is one we will look forward to.
"Leiston will be a good game and so will Needham Market away. It will be nice to go there on a Friday night and have a few beers with the supporters afterwards.
"There are some good games in there.
"Chlemsford will come down on the Saturday with about 20 and at Walsham it will possibly be two different games."
He is not a fan of pre-season matches, and will not be fretting about losing any.
"Pre-season friendlies are training matches and it is all about getting ready for the first league game," he said.
"I do not read anything into them and I am not a big fan of them but it is a necessary evil."
AFC Sudbury's pre-season schedule:
Saturday 6th July - Home to Chelmsford 3pm
Thursday 11th July - Away to Walsham 7:45pm
Saturday 13th July - Home to Leiston 3pm
Tuesday 16th July - Home v Haringey Borough 7:45pm
Saturday 20th July – Home v Ipswich Town 2pm
Tuesday 23rd July – Home to Brantham 7:45pm
Saturday 27th July – Home to Cray Wanderers 3:00pm
Tuesday 30th July – Away to Harwich & Parkeston 7:45pm
Friday 2nd August -Needham Market away 7:30pm
Tuesday 6th August – Home v Col Utd U23’s 7:45pm
Saturday 17th August – Season starts
* Don't miss next week's Suffolk Free Press (June 20) for a special piece to mark the 20th anniversary of AFC Sudbury.