AFC Sudbury boss Marc Abbott excited for impact of Luton Town’s Jacob Pinnington and Josh Allen while goalkeeper James Philp set to cover suspension
AFC Sudbury manager Marc Abbott believes the loan additions of two of Premier League Luton Town’s up-and-coming talents can provide a timely boost for his side in their relegation run-in.
The Yellows’ heartbreaking last-gasp 2-1 home defeat to promotion-chasing Mickleover with 10 men on Saturday sees his side remain five points from safety in the final relegation spot in the Pitching In Southern League Premier Central.
They will be joined for their remaining 14 matches, which begin at sixth-placed Stamford on Saturday (3pm), by versatile defender Jacob Pinnington, 19, and striker Josh Allen, 20, who are due to train with the club for the first time tonight.
And Abbott is excited what they can bring to his side as well as the impact their presence can have on others with the added competition for places.
"Jacob is a first-year professional. He's trained 55 times with the first-team this season so he is obviously one that has got a real good reputation at Luton,” he said of the player who captained the Hatters’ under-18s to the EFL Youth Alliance South East title last season as well as helping them to the FA Youth Cup Fifth Round.
"I understand that they were trying to potentially get him higher but couldn't at this stage of the season so I think what we've seen of him in the clips ahead of him training with us Thursday, we're really excited with this one.
"He's got pace, power, he's direct, he's very creative but he can also defend very well. We feel as though he's going to add to what we've currently got.
"He plays anywhere along the backline and he can also play on the side of the field, he's flexible and versatile."
Of Allen, who added to his loans with Hitchin Town and Cray Wanderers last season with a spell at Sudbury’s equivalent-level Chesham United at the start of the current campaign, he said: "Josh is left-footed so he brings a different sort of style to the team.
"He had a loan at Chesham this season and by all accounts he's scored some goals in the under-21s.
"He's a second-year so he's had a bit more experience than Jacob but he can add another dimension to our team."
And he believes the pair can help to bring the best out of others in his squad.
“For us it's adding to what we've got, it's definitely going to help the group,” he said.
"I think our best run of games came when we had options and people that can play in each individual game.
"We're happy with the depth we've now got and look, every player we've got now wants to contribute which is healthy for the football club and healthy for where we want to finish at the end of the season."
With goalkeeper James Bradbrook serving a one-match suspension for the red card against Mickleover this weekend, he revealed James Philp, who stood in for their number one in November ahead of a short spell as cover at Bury Town, will step in.
He said of the player who won the title with Hashtag United last season before being released: "We've got James Philp ready. He's been training with us over the past few weeks anyway and he'll come in.
"Look, he's a top keeper for the level and we're lucky we have those options and those relationships with people.”
Of the test at Stamford, he said: "They're good at home, they're beat a lot of good teams at home.
"They're direct from set pieces and they're a handful.
"But look, our game-plan is already in place. It'll be a good game and one where we think we can get points.”
Late heartbreak for 10-man AFC Sudbury
Meanwhile, Abbott was left full of admiration for what his players gave to the cause in testing circumstances in the heartbreaking 2-1 home defeat to promotion-chasing Mickleover on Saturday.
Joe Neal's angled finish folowing a free kick not being cleared had got them off to the perfect start inside 40 seconds.
But the first of two big decisions went against them in the 39th minute when goalkeeper James Bradbrook raced out of his area and was shown a red card for a high foot challenge, with Abbott at pains to point out the ball had ultimately gone off the pitch.
Striker Romario Dunne took over in goal and made two key saves while his crossbar and post also came to his rescue.
However, a contentious penalty in the 85th minute saw Oliver Greaves beat him from 12 yards.
And in the seventh of six minutes of added time, following the crossbar being rattled again, Stuart Beavon provided the winner right at the death.
Abbott said: "Firstly we have to give credit to the players, I thought they showed they're up for the fight and showed they can out-work and out-run teams, especially when the game-plan has to change slightly, obviously with the sending off.
"Look, overall I thought we controlled large elements of the game, minus they obviously hit the post and bar a couple of times which is always going to happen against a team that had a striker in goal.
"For us, yes, of course it was a frustrating last 12 minutes or so but we've shown again it's real fine details at this level and you get punished.
“But we must keep doing the right things and I think look, the boys we have got and the additions we have made are keen to fight to keep the club up."
He was full of praise for Dunne for his role in taking on the gloves.
“"He was fantastic,” he said. “We got the players over to gather thoughts and reassess what the team looks like and straight away he was the one who said he wanted to go in goal and stood up to the challenge and I thought he was excellent, really good.
"It was testament to his character and personality to be honest.
"He's exactly the people we want in the building."
Addressing the penalty and the earlier sending off, he said: “I felt the referee was very quick to give the decision, as he was with the sending off. I didn’t think he looked what was next with the situation and the ball was off the pitch.”