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AFC Sudbury boss Marc Abbott brings in Philip Brown-Bampoe to provide ‘missing spark’ while summer signing Josh Okpolokpo is released

AFC Sudbury manager Marc Abbott believes well-travelled midfielder Philip Brown-Bampoe can provide the ‘missing spark’ his side needs as they bid to turn draws into wins.

The newly-promoted Yellows occupy the last of four relegation spaces after 10 games in the Pitching In Southern League Premier Central with a divisional high five draws and a single win to their name.

After Brown-Bampoe was thrown in for his debut in the wake of Saturday’s 5-0 demolition at perfect starters Mikleover on Saturday, it was his replacement on Tuesday, academy talent Reuben Swann, who scored the eye-catching goal at home to Leiston to earn them their latest draw.

Philip Brown-Bampoe made his debut for AFC Sudbury against Leiston Picture: Steve Screech/AFC Sudbury
Philip Brown-Bampoe made his debut for AFC Sudbury against Leiston Picture: Steve Screech/AFC Sudbury

But Abbott is confident central midfielder Brown-Bampoe – credited with 10 clubs including four last season; Tilbury, Maldon & Tiptree, Bakring and Bognor Regis Town ahead of his summer move to Step 3 Canvey Island – can make a telling difference once he gets up to speed.

Writing in his match-day programme notes, he explained: “Phil likes to create opportunities which is something I feel we have been missing recently, that spark.”

And following Tuesday’s game he told SuffolkNews: “Phil gave us a good 55-60 minutes. Some of his passes and bits needed to be crisper but he hasn't played too much recently and he was new in today.

"We're aware of what qualities he has.

"We were pleasantly happy with him, we feel as though he is going to need to offer more but he's an experienced player.

"He looks like he can make things happen and be creative so we'll see where that takes us."

Bampoe-Brown’s senior journey has also seen him take in spells at East Thurrock United, Romford, Redbridge and Greenwich Borough.

It comes as Abbott has let one of his 11 summer signings go in former Huddersfield Town trainee defender Josh Okpolokpo, the 20-year-old who was with Leiston last season.

Following his suspension seeing him out of the side as Charlie Lewis and Tom Dickens have established themselves as first-choice centre-halves, he said: "It's a bit of a one for him in terms of us not being selfish by keeping him on the bench.

"But look, we thank him for his efforts and he's got good potential and we hope he can reach it."

The quest for a first home win this season goes into a sixth game on Saturday with the visit of a Stamford side (3pm), also promoted last season, who have made a flying start to life at Step 3 with five wins and three draws from 10 matches leaving them fifth.

Abbott said of their next opponents: "They'll be strong in both boxes, they'll be physical, they'll get in our faces.

“We know exactly how they play; they've got some threats on the counter-attack.

"So that will be a hard one and a tough challenge but we’ll prepare for that at training Thursday.

"I said to the players after (Leiston) ‘be happy but also have one eye on Stamford Saturday. We need to back this result up with a win’.

"We've got a few home games coming up. We're picking up points at home which is a plus, but like I say, we need to now turn them points into three and no better way to start than against Stamford.”

With Dan Cousens set to be missing for a couple of weeks after sustaining concussion on Tuesday, Abbott is hopeful Ollie Brown will have recovered from a niggle he was resting this week to return at right-back. However, he was also encouraged by what academy player Jamie Eveleigh showed in his appearance from the bench.

“Jamie came in and did well,” he said, “he needs to learn the game and be a bit faster in possession. But he showed loads of energy to get up and down and had some good moments.”

Tuesday sees AFC host a young Ipswich Town side in the second round of the Endeavour Automotive Suffolk Premier Cup (7.45pm).