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Newmarket Town manager will assess season so far during lockdown

Player-manager Michael Shinn is planning to use the Covid-19 lockdown to assess why his Newmarket Town side has made such a stuttering start to the season.

While the Jockeys have only played 10 games, a return of three victories has left them 13th in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division.

And with no matches until at least early December, Shinn is planning to use the time off to consider the campaign so far.

Newmarket manager Michael Shinn. Picture: Mark Westley
Newmarket manager Michael Shinn. Picture: Mark Westley

“It’s been a disappointing start and not what we hoped for,” he said. “There have been spells when we’ve played well, but then there are other spells when we seem to let conceding a goal really affect us. One goal is quickly followed by two and three – that happened at Norwich United, Walsham and Swaffham.

“It has been difficult to get out the same side each week because of Covid, injuries and work commitments, but that isn’t an excuse because it’s the same for all clubs and the players we are sending out are still good enough to win games.

“We’ll assess where we are during the coming weeks and have a look at the squad.

“Is it a squad issue? Is it my issue? These are the things we need to be looking at.

“One thing that could be key is some of our injured players – like Jack Watson and Ben Robinson – will hopefully be back fit when we get started again.”

As it stands, the national lockdown is due to be lifted on Wednesday, December 2, subject to government approval.

Newmarket are due to travel to Long Melford that evening, while the Thurlow Nunn League recently informed clubs that they could either play their first league fixtures once restrictions had been loosened, or use the date for training and friendly matches.

The league also confirmed the 2020/21 end date has been pushed back three weeks until May 15.

Asked for his take, Shinn said: “It depends on whether or not clubs want the season to finish.

“I’d be happy to go straight back into league matches because I’m not sure what sitting out just one extra week will achieve.

“The sooner we get back playing the better because it’s going to be tough to finish the season anyway.”

Whenever Newmarket are permitted to get back out on the pitch, there could well be a sprinkling of youth within the ranks.

Shinn has already used some of the club’s under-18s players this term, and after they enjoyed a good run in the FA Youth Cup, he is planning to give them more exposure to senior football in the coming months.

“Our under-18s have been excellent and they deserve an opportunity in the first team,” he said.

“It would be foolish of us not to use them because there are some quality players right in front of us – we don’t have to go out and sign them.”