Boss has links with Canaries

Norwich City

Norwich City

First published in Non League News

CHAMPIONSHIP promotion-chasers Norwich City can offer non-league Waltham Abbey a great source of much-needed reinforcements.

Ryman League Division One North Abbey are battling against a mounting list of absent players, writes Dominic Gover.

Striker Tyler Campbell will not feature for the Abbotts at Capershotts against AFC Sudbury this weekend.

Matt Aker, Anim Ibrahim, Charlie Davis and Danny Harvey are also unlikely to be available.

So boss Paul Wickenden has leafed through his contacts book.

“I’ve spoken to a friend at Norwich City who’s started as goalkeeping coach, and we’ll see if we can get someone in for a game,” he said.

Wickenden expects visiting AFC Sudbury to be stern opposition, even though Abbey won 4-2 when the pair last clashed.

“Sudbury will be a very tough game. I know we won last time, but they will pose us lots of problems.

“They are big and strong and experienced, and if we are not confident we will get bullied out of the game."

Last weekend saw Abbey grind out a 1-0 win over struggling Ware.

Steve Cawley netted from the penalty spot after just seven minutes, his second goal in five days.

“We showed a lot of character, we dug deep and we made good decisions.

“We started very brightly in the first 20 minutes and scored the penalty,” reflected Wickenden.

“Then we looked like we would score more, but we stopped playing.

“Ware had a lot of possession and had two or three chances, with Harry Ricketts making very good saves, which is his job.

“We had to dig deep for the win.

“We defended very well and were organised and very professional.

“It’s a sign of a good team when you play bad and get good results. Previously, we played well and got nothing.”

The result cemented Abbey’s place within the pack chasing a play-off place.

Defeats to Enfield Town and Harlow Town in recent weeks did not mean Abbey ran out of steam, insisted Wickenden.

“No team deserved to win in the Enfield and Harlow games. We did not get beaten by better teams, we got beaten by sloppy defending.

“I think it’s our lack of experience, but we have bounced back ever so well. We are looking more professional and in control. We look like we have extra gears in games.

“I’m over the moon that people are speaking about the play-offs, to be honest. We stopped talking about it because it did affect the players.”

Meanwhile, Waltham Forest suffered another blow in their fight against relegation.

The Stags were shown no quarter by hosts Grays Athletic, who cantered to a 4-0 win.

This weekend sees another proverbial six-pointer for boss Wali Ojelabi’s team, when Tilbury visit Cricklefields.

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