Rivals set to clash in Vase
‘Erratic’ is how player-manager Michael Shinn best surmises Newmarket Town’s start to the new season as they prepare for Saturday’s FA Vase derby at home against Ely City (3pm).
The 2018/19 campaign may only be eight games old for the Jockeys, but Shinn and his men have already been through a number of different scenarios.
There have been lows – namely losing away at Ely in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division, and having three players sent off during a 1-1 draw with Haverhill Rovers.
However, there has also been more than the odd glimpse of Newmarket’s potential, particularly on their own patch at the Bloorie.com Stadium.
Newmarket are yet to lose any of their four games on the 3G at their Cricket Field Road base, following on from the end of the previous term when they suffered just two defeats in nine outings in front of their own fans.
And, with his team having home advantage for the weekend’s second round qualifying tie against the Robins, Shinn is hoping that the recent trend continues.
“We did not start well against Ely at their place and they moved the ball very well,” said Shinn, who is hoping to have a new defender and striker on board in the coming days.
“We were nowhere near our levels and in truth we have been a bit erratic performance-wise so far.
“We have been very good and not very good; had to show some character to get through in the FA Cup; dropped points we should not have; and had three sent off in one – you never quite know what you are going to get.
“We know all about Ely and they about us, but hopefully we can make home advantage count.
“Because of the surface, we tend to play a bit differently at home to how we do away – it suits us more.
“We do not tend to lose too many home. I fancy us against any team at our level at home.”
Shinn’s opposite number Brady Stone, meanwhile, is well aware that his team’s win over Newmarket will count for very little.
Nevertheless, it was still a result that ended his club’s drought against their neighbours.
“We will have to forget about the league game on the day, but it does show we can beat them after a long run without a win,” said the Ely boss.
“Hopefully that has given us a bit of confidence and belief.
“It is a winnable game, and I am sure they will be thinking the same thing.
“In Vase ties it’s all about what happens on the day. If we play to our levels then we will have a very good chance. If we do not do enough, we will go out.”
In terms of team news, Newmarket’s Rhys Thorpe is rated 50/50 with a knee injury, but Blake Kicks will be available after suspension.
Jamie Alsop, Lee Reed and Deakan Napier should all be involved for Ely after being absent at the weekend, but Jamie Thurlbourne has been ruled out for the season with a knee injury.