Walsham-le-Willows joint boss Ian Hubbard is happy with the key signings his side made to kick-start their campaign
Walsham-le-Willows joint manager Ian Hubbard believes ‘spirts are really good at the club’ after they made some statement signings to overcome a tough start to the season.
Following a difficult run of fixtures that left the Willows winless in their first six games in all competitions, they turned to transfers to bolster their squad in a bid to make the top 10 of the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division come the end of the season – the target duo Chay Budd and Hubbard had laid down in the summer.
One of they key signings who came in to kick-start Walsham’s campaign was experienced defender Sam Nunn.
The signing from Lowestoft Town joined The Morrish Stadium outfit with an abundance of experience of Step 3 & 4 football, having previously plied his trade with Stowmarket Town, Needham Market, Felixstowe & Walton and Bury Town.
“He’s been a big lift to the club, absolutely massive. He’s good friends with Chappers (Scott Chaplin), who’s also a great player for us and he was key with getting him to the club,” Hubbard said.
“He’s been brilliant since he’s come in and even the last three games where he’s been suspended, he’s attended all of them and he’s really bought into the group. We’re so pleased to have him on board. If you can get enough good quality players with the team playing well, the results take care of themselves.”
As well as the addition of Nunn, the Willows welcomed back some familiar faces in the form of Kyran Cooper - who had a brief spell away from the club at Norwich United - and attacking midfielder Craig Nurse.
“We had a bit of a recruitment drive. It’s a new team that we’ve been putting together. We’ve got some old familiar faces from last year but added quite a few new players,” Hubbard said.
“It took a bit of time for them to gel and we always said that we wouldn’t be judged over our first few games because we knew that they would be tough. In the last 10 we have competed really well.”
With their newly-assembled squad receiving its final additions in recent weeks, Walsham bounced back from their winless start to string together a four game unbeaten run in all competitions, which included 4-0 wins over Long Melford and Brantham Athletic – but started with a victory on penalties in the Isuzu FA Vase against current sixth place Premier Division outfit Dereham Town.
Hubbard believed his side deserved to win the cup tie and saw the victory as the ‘start of the turn’ for their 2023/24 campaign.
The Willows still find themselves involved in the Vase, having ran out 3-1 winners at Mulbarton Wanderers in the previous round, and have been drawn an away clash at Premier Division table-toppers Lakenheath.
More recently in the league, Budd and Hubbard are starting to see the work they are doing on the training pitch being put into place on a match day.
On Saturday, they treated their own fans to a fantastic performance as they hammered Kirkley & Pakefield 5-1, thanks to a hat-trick from Ethan Garcia - back from a short spell with Stowmarket - and goals from Charlie Norman and Chaplin.
“The club has got a bit of buzz back about it and we are playing some really attractive football. We are a possession-based side and over the season we hope to get better and better,” said Hubbard.
“Because of the new influx of players it took a bit of time for them to build, but we fancy ourselves and we can compete in every game now.
“I do think that if we had a re-run of our fixtures that we had at the start of the season with the squad and the team playing how they are now, I do think we would’ve had some different outcomes.”
But, even though they travelled to Woodbridge Town full of confidence on Tuesday night, knowing a win could take them up to 11th in the table, they fell to a 2-0 defeat.
On the midweek loss, Hubbard said: “We’re a bit disappointed. Woodbridge we weren’t on great form and we thought we’d go there and do well because of how we’ve been playing. It was just one of those nights, but in fairness they shaded it and deserved to win.”
The Willows (13th) are not in action this weekend as they were due to face Norwich United, who withdrew from the Premier Division a few weeks ago.
Budd and Hubbard’s side are currently making their way through a run of five away games in a row, which commenced on Tuesday night, and continues when they travel to Downham Town on October 14.