Ex-Pompey pro Ellis Martin makes Moneyfields debut – and adds to manage Glenn Turnbull’s selection headaches
Moneyfields boss Glenn Turnbull confessed he is having a tough time trying to keep all his players happy.
Taking advantage of his club’s Wessex Premier League postponement at Hythe & Dibden, Turnbull watched the reserves defeat Clanfield 5-1 at Dover Road to move five points clear at the top of the Hampshire Premier League Senior Division.
It was a strong second string that could hold its own at Wessex Division 1 level given that Sam Richards, Liam Kyle, Josh Mound, Jake Knight, Josh Bailey and Fred Penfold have all played for Moneys’ 1st XI in 2021/22.
In addition, striker Mig Dark is close to first team contention after a number of reserve run-outs - after picking up a pre-season injury - and ex-Pompey pro Ellis Martin is another with Wessex Premier ambitions after coming through his first competitive game since before the first lockdown.
Martin, who has played non-league for Gosport, Chichester and AFC Portchester, was only due to play for an hour against Clanfield but ended up playing the whole game. Starting in the middle of a back three, he was moved to the left side of the three midway through the first half.
Turnbull, and reserve boss Lee Mould for that matter, are not short of centre halves with Kyle, Mound, Tom Cain, Harry Birmingham, Adam Cripps, Kieran Clark, Stan Hopkins and Owen Haly all capable of playing there. In addition, the versatile Rob Evans has also played as one of a back three in recent weeks. And now Martin has been added to the equation.
There is fierce competition for places in other positions too and Turnbull said: ‘Anyone we bring in now has to be better than what we’ve got, and not just marginally better - they’ve virtually got to be a nailed on first team starter.
‘There’s no point bringing in anyone, going through the process of integrating them and possibly upsetting some of the lads. That’s where we are now.’
In a bid to get players game time, Mould accommodated Turnbull’s wish of starting Bailey, Dark and Fred Penfold as a forward three against Clanfield.
‘I see Josh Bailey as a first team squad player but I need him to get minutes,’ said Turnbull. ‘We have to keep him ticking over, rather than him being ring rusty when he comes in.
‘Look at Danny Burroughs. We think a lot of him but it won’t do him much good to sit on the (first team) bench all season getting minutes here and there.
‘We were lucky in a way that Owen Haly was unavailable (against Clanfield) and Kieran Clark’s just become a father.
‘I wanted Josh Mound and Ellis Martin to get minutes so others have to drop out. That’s the downside of the ‘one club’ mantra I’m keen on, and I think one or two are struggling with it at the moment.
‘This is a hard part. Fraser (Quirke) and Barto (Paul Barton, coach) can just worry about the football, but I’ve got to worry about budgets and making sure everyone gets enough game time.
‘It’s not like it was at US last season when we had a squad of around 16, or 18 when we played in the Vase.’
‘Some lads have moved on. We had a centre half called Tommy Key, I was quite impressed with him in pre-season. In the summer I wanted to sign six centre halves, but I’ve ended up with eight with Crippo (Cripps) and Ellis.
‘We’ve signed Ben Sillence, who has been released by Aldershot. He’s a really good player but we’re struggling to get him minutes.’
Martin’s next start could be in the Hampshire Senior Cup tie against Lymington on October 12. He could also be involved in the FA Vase at Littlehampton 11 days later as teams are allowed to name seven subs rather than the five in league games.