NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: It’s time to shine for the Ely City squad
- Credit: Archant
Ely City boss Brady Stone has told his players it is time to perform.
The Robins have gone eight games without a victory in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division after launching the new campaign with back-to-back successes.
They have predictably slipped down the standings as a result but now face a series of games against other teams in the bottom half of the table - starting with a trip to Long Melford this Saturday, 3pm.
"It's a big game to start a massive month for us - and the lads need to perform," said Stone.
"We've got a lot of games coming up against sides around us in the table and we need to make the most of them.
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"Two or three good results in the next few weeks will set us up for a decent season.
"But if we don't pick up those points, it's going to be another long, hard battle at the bottom and that's something we're all desperate to avoid."
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The latest City loss was at the hands of high-flying Wroxham at the Demcom Stadium last Saturday when a moment of individual quality from the visitors' former Norwich City star Simon Lappin condemned Stone's men to a 1-0 reverse.
Lappin struck midway through the second half with Sam Reed having been unable to take Ely's two best opportunities when the game was still goalless.
"We were disappointing against Mildenhall in our previous game but much better against Wroxham," added Stone.
"But they are third in the league for a reason and a bit of class from one of their big players got them the points. We competed well against a very strong team despite having six players missing, but we didn't quite do enough in terms of threatening their goal.
"We're certainly not far away from getting results and we're also getting players back all the time."
Defenders Tom Williams and Ash Walter and midfielder Sam Goodge all return to the Robins for the trip to Long Melford.
And there were further injury boosts when striker Alex Theobald and midfielder George Darling both trained for the first time this season in midweek.
City handed debuts to two loan recruits against Wroxham.
Vastly-experienced left-back Johnny Herd has arrived from Step 3 side Peterborough Sports to cover the absence of skipper Jamie Alsop who is away.
Herd played professionally for Southend in the past and has had spells with Bishop's Stortford and St Neots Town in non-league.
City have also drafted in right-back David Cooper from Premier Division rivals Mildenhall.
Stone could also add another new face to his squad this week after making an approach for Lakenheath prospect Marcio Pereira.
City's home clash against Cambridge University Press in the Cambs Invitation Cup was postponed on Tuesday night.
Recent heavy rain caused damage to the office and changing rooms at the Demcom Stadium.
The game against the Cambridgeshire County League side will now take place this Tuesday (October 15).