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AFC Sudbury promotion challenge not yet crossing joint manager Rick Andrews' mind



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Despite seeing their strong start continue, AFC Sudbury joint manager Rick Andrews feels it is too early to be discussing the prospect of a promotion challenge.

Following their BBC-televised FA Cup tie with Colchester United, the Yellows took a point in a 1-1 draw at fellow high-fliers Grays Athletic last Wednesday before they battered Heybridge Swifts 5-0 in Essex on Saturday.

It leaves Sudbury third in the Pitching In Isthmian League North Division standings with their 10 games accounted for more than a quarter of the season (26.32 per cent).

AFC Sudbury joint manager Angelo Harrop (left) and Rick Andrews (right) are not getting carried away with their strong start to the season Picture: Mecha Morton
AFC Sudbury joint manager Angelo Harrop (left) and Rick Andrews (right) are not getting carried away with their strong start to the season Picture: Mecha Morton

And ahead of hosting 11th-placed Tilbury on Saturday (3pm) they are four points behind leaders Canvey Island with a game in hand and just two behind Dereham Town in second, having played three less games.

But Andrews and fellow joint boss Harrop are not getting carried away with what they admit is a start that has put them ahead of where they envisaged being, following a remoulding of the squad upon their summer arrival.

“Two or three results either way and you could find yourself in a very different position,” said Andrews.

Josh Stokes has impressed during the last two league matches Picture: Mecha Morton
Josh Stokes has impressed during the last two league matches Picture: Mecha Morton

“I mean look at Stowmarket, they have just won three on the bounce and they are in the top five now.

“We’ve obviously had a great cup run and there is a feelgood factor at the club.

“Look, we want to be a top 10 side so we will continue to push that.

“We will reassess it in the new year, let’s get December out of the way because there is lots of games coming thick and fast and we will see where we are at.

“If come the new year we are sitting where we are then yes, with three or four months left then why not give it a go? But there are so many strong teams in the division it is hard to really say.”

With Romario Dunne now set to be out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament knee injury and summer signing Dan Gilchrist having recently left to get first-team football, Andrews revealed they are looking to recruit another striker.

But academy player Josh Stokes, who came off the bench at Grays, has pressed his claim to play, scoring on his full league debut at Heybridge that saw Jamie Shaw pushed up front as part of a two-pronged attack.

Andrews said: “The boy did not put a foot wrong and managed to score.

“My message to any of the academy boys is if you’re good enough you’re old enough, it’s as simple as that.

“I did it with George Quantrell at Stow and he reminds me a lot of him. He is a good one and I know there is a few others in the pipeline which is very
good news for us.”

After Joe Grimwood (18’) put them ahead at Heybridge, Stokes held off his man well before slotting under the ‘keeper in the 35th minute before Jake Clowsley and a Reece Harris penalty made it 4-0 by the interval.

With the game effectively won, AFC ensured they did not switch off to bring up another clean sheet while Ethan Mayhew (75’) made it five.

Andrews felt the performance at Grays had been as good but one where they lacked a clinical edge to get their rewards.

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