New Year's Day previews: Driver upbeat, Morsley 'it's not ideal', Boardley's 'free shot', Bury in good shape
PUBLISHED: 10:35 31 December 2019 | UPDATED: 11:30 31 December 2019
AFC Sudbury have endured one of the quietest festive periods for many years.
The west Suffolk outfit had neither a game on Boxing Day nor at the weekend just gone and go into their New Year's Day Isthmian North clash with Histon at King's Marsh Stadium (3pm) light on game time in the last four weeks.
Indeed, Mark Morsley's side have only had two competitive games in December, something the Sudbury boss is far from impressed with.
"After having put together a decent run this huge shortage of games is clearly not an ideal position to be in," he said.
"We have had two competitive encounters in December which makes our preparations going forward a little disjointed to say the least.
"I have said this before and will say it again, as far as I'm concerned, we have been let down with us having no game on Boxing Day or December 28. For me it's a scandalous position for us to be left in."
Sudbury sit 16th in the 20-strong North division and have played just 14 league games so far this campaign.
They welcome Histon, the Cambridgeshire sitting just outside the play-off picture and a team who enjoyed a 1-0 win over local rivals Cambridge City on Boxing Day in front of almost 550 fans.
Meanwhile Bury Town travel to Cambridge City in an Isthmian North clash, (3pm).
Ben Chenery's side bounced back from a defeat at Histon earlier in December, to beat Cambridge City on Boxing Day, in front of almost 500 fans.
The Blues are in a good position in the table, in third, four points behind second-placed Aveley, but with two games in hand.
Felixstowe & Walton United start the new decade with an away day in Essex, travelling to face Heybridge Swifts in the BetVictor Isthmian North, (3pm)
The Seasiders will be buoyed by the performance and result at the weekend, the 2-0 win against Basildon United means the club will go into this game with a spring in their step.
The two sides have met twice this season already, both on Suffolk soil, Heybridge running out 2-1 winners at the Goldstar Ground on August Bank Holiday Monday in the league, and Felixstowe winning 7-6 on penalties in September, following a 2-2 draw in the Velocity Trophy.
Felixstowe go into the game with an almost full squad to choose from, the only doubt being defender Sam Nunn, who will undergo a fitness test before the match.
Looking ahead to the game, Seasiders boss Stuart Boardley said. "The win against Basildon on Saturday has given us almost a free shot at Heybridge, because we go there almost not expecting to get any points, but that is perhaps a nice position to be in."
Meanwhile in the Southern League, Leiston entertain Needham Market at Victory Road, 1pm kick-off.
After an excellent 3-1 win against Lowestoft Town on Boxing Day at Crown Meadow, Leiston will be full of confidence.
Glen Driver and Tony Kinsella's team moved up to 20th position in the table to move ahead of Alvechurch and they are now behind St Ives Town on goal difference while they trail Stratford Town by two points.
"The Boxing Day result was a massive result for everyone connected with the club and we played some good football on a sticky pitch," Driver said.
Needham are currently in 14th place and have endured a mixed bag of results in December, although they have already beaten Leiston twice this season in teh league and League Cup.
Lowestoft Town are keen to start the New Year in style as they prepare for two tough tests in the next four days.
Hopes of finishing the year positively with a derby day victory were dashed as Leiston triumphed 1-3 at Crown Meadow on Boxing Day.
And assistant manager Andy Reynolds is determined to see his side bounce back as they head to Hertfordshire to take on ninth-placed Royston Town on New Year's Day, 3pm. Sixth-placed Hednesford Town then provide another stern test when they visit on Saturday.
Defeat at Suffolk rivals Leiston meant the Trawlerboys remained in 16th place in the table at the end of the year.
Of the derby defeat, Reynolds said: "We were disappointed with the whole day really. We had hoped to round off the end of the year positively, but we didn't show anywhere near enough quality."