Stowmarket Town sign Erkan Okay from Soham Town Rangers ahead of Canvey Island and AFC Sudbury clashes
Ahead of crunch games against Canvey Island and AFC Sudbury, manager Paul Musgrove has added a player with a wealth of experience to his Stowmarket Town squad.
Erkan Okay has arrived at Greens Meadow from equivalent-level Soham Town Rangers, where he held the position of player-assistant to boss Robbie Mason.
The versatile Okay includes the likes of Histon, Chelmsford City, Royston Town, Lowestoft Town and AFC Sudbury on his non-league CV, as well as being capped by England C.
And with the likes of Jack Ainsley, Josh Curry, Tevan Allen and Craig Parker all set to miss the upcoming fixtures, Musgrove believes that Okay will provide a much needed boost to the squad.
“Erkan has a lot of qualities and will provide a lot, especially in terms of what he has won and done in the game,” said the Stowmarket boss.
“We’ve got a few injuries at the moment and we needed to bring in a player just like him.
“He’s got that bit of quality you need at our level, he’s been there and done it and knows the game inside out.
“He also has that flexibility, which is what I’ve built the team around. We have players that can play in a few positions, so we know the team is strong whoever is playing.
“That’s a big factor in anyone we sign and Erkan ticks that box.”
Okay is set to make his debut for the Old Gold & Blacks during tomorrow’s trip to league-leading Canvey Island (3pm).
The Gulls tasted defeat in the league for the first time last weekend when going down 1-0 at home to Dereham Town – and Musgrove is anticipating a response.
“They’re a very good outfit and they’ve been really impressive this season,” added Musgrove, who has seen his Stowmarket side move up to fourth, three points behind Canvey having played a game more.
“You’ve got to expect them to show some sort of reaction because they’ve not been used to losing.
“We’ll need to go down with a pack mentality and make sure that we play to our strengths.
“We know their threats and we’ll have to stop those, but we also need to be a threat ourselves.”
The trip to Canvey is swiftly followed by an all-Suffolk affair with AFC Sudbury, who will head to Greens Meadow on Tuesday (7.45pm).
There are plenty of links between the sides – none bigger than ex-Stow boss Rick Andrews now being in charge of the Yellows – but with an Emirates FA Cup clash already behind them this term, Musgrove’s sole focus is on securing three points.
“All of the overlaps, they are not important any more – that was finished after the FA Cup matches,” he said.
“It’s just another game now and I’m sure both teams just want to go about their business, trying to continue their good seasons.”
Sudbury go into the weekend on the same amount of points as Stowmarket (30), but sit higher in third thanks to their superior goal difference.
It means that dependent upon results elsewhere, Musgrove’s men could be sitting top of the table come Tuesday night.
“The games don’t get any easier after those two either,” said Musgrove.
“For us the next few weeks are about making sure we are in touching distance still come January – that will set us up nicely with players hopefully coming back from injury then.
“There will be ups and downs because anyone can beat anyone in this league, but we showed what we can do against Aveley (2-1 win on Saturday).
“They are one of the best sides we’ve seen this season and we’ve beaten them. We had to withstand some pressure but we can do that because we’ve got good characters in the squad. We’ll need to show more of that over the weeks to come.”
The Canvey game may also mark the debut of Jesse Nwabueze, who has joined Stowmarket on a one-month loan deal from Ipswich Town.
The young attacker spent the first part of this campaign on loan at Bury Town.