Essex Senior League: Suspended Paul Clayton is confident Ilford will cope during absence

PUBLISHED: 17:00 11 November 2016

Paul Clayton of Ilford celebrates opening the scoring against West Essex (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Paul Clayton of Ilford celebrates opening the scoring against West Essex (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Waltham Forest visit Foxes on Saturday with Allan Fenn without in-form defender due to recent red

Paul Clayton is frustrated to be consigned to a watching role for the next couple of games, but is backing his Ilford team-mates to get on a strong run in Essex Senior League.

The former Romford captain has scored four of the Foxes last five goals, yet will not feature on Saturday when Waltham Forest visit.

Clayton’s straight red card at Stansted on October 25 means he will miss out and can’t look to carry on his stunning form in front of goal.

“It’s frustrating because I feel like I’m just hitting some form and now I have to miss three games,” said the versatile ace, who can feature in defence or midfield.

“I think if we play well on our day we can beat anybody in the league so hopefully we turn up and get all three points, but it will be a tough game.”

A glance at the table doesn’t make great reading for Ilford, lurking in mid-table with only 25 points to their name in mid-November.

But a closer examination shows they have only played 15 times and have at least three games in hand over most of their rivals near the top of the table.

Takeley and Hullbridge Sports have played 23 and 24 times respectively to show the league standings don’t count for much right now.

Clayton challenged Ilford to focus on themselves and build momentum to get where they should be.

He added: “We need to get on a good run to really climb up and put pressure on the other teams. We need to turn draws into wins and really start climbing up the table.”

Clayton served the first of his three-match suspension on Tuesday night when Ilford travelled to Witham Town in the third round of the Essex Senior Cup.

The Ryman North outfit won 2-0 as Ryan Charles opened the scoring in the 32nd minute and Tim Monsheju doubled their advantage nine minutes from time.

But it was a spirited display by the Foxes against a strong home side.

Saturday’s trip to Sporting Bengal United was the most important fixture of the week for Ilford and Wale Odedoyin put them ahead midway through the first half, before Clayton doubled the advantage to make it 2-0 at the break.

Ilford’s in-form defender grabbed his second goal in the 51st minute and although Bengal scored twice late on, the visitors held on for a 3-2 win at Mile End Stadium.

“We need to bounce back on Saturday because we have been disappointed with a few of our performances and results lately,” said Clayton.

“The most important thing was getting the win and three points, which we did, so that was pleasing.”

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