Murphy joins on loan as Borough eye FA Trophy progress at Leiston

Tom Murphy
Tom Murphy

By Aidan Small

Eastbourne Borough will put the league to one side as they prepare for their FA Trophy match at Leiston today (Saturday).

Borough were boosted by their midweek 2-1 victory against Margate and will travel to Suffolk in high spirits.

Widdrington said, “Its one of the competitions we genuinely go into before the draw and think that we have a realistic chance of progressing. In fact, we have a realistic chance of winning it.”

Leiston play their football in the Isthmian Premier Division, and are looking worthy title contenders having recorded 35 points in just 17 games. This leaves them in third place with a game in hand on top of the table Havant and Waterlooville.

The Borough boss added, “Obviously it’s a cup tie that we will go to as the team from the higher league, but I think that it will be a very good game.

“They are very strong and they have had a good season themselves; we’ve had someone watch them again on Tuesday. My message to the lads when they go out on Saturday will be to make sure that you’re in the hat on Monday.”

Gavin McCallum is expected to be out for eight weeks with a broken elbow sustained in last Saturday’s 4-3 home loss against Weston.

Tommy Widdrington has moved swiftly to fill the gap left in his squad by the injury to Gavin McCallum.

In on loan from Maidstone United comes Tom Murphy, a gifted and experienced attacker, who began his career at Gillingham but moved to Maidstone in the summer after three seasons at Dover Athletic, where he scored 24 goals in 70 appearances and was more than once a thorn in Borough’s side in encounters with the Kent club.

This season at Maidstone, he has had 19 National League appearances including six as a substitute.

24-year-old Murphy has trained at Priory Lane this week and he arrives on an initial one-month loan. “Tom is well known to us and I have always rated him highly,” commented Widdrington.

“As a quick essentially left-sided attacker he is a natural replacement while Gavin is recovering, and I am grateful to Jay Saunders (Maidstone manager) for his help.

“Like any player in my squad, Tom will have to earn the right to a starting place, of course, but he is eligible for both the FA Trophy and the Sussex Senior Cup, and with a busy December and Christmas ahead I am sure he will prove his worth.”

The paperwork for Murphy’s move should have gone through on Thursday, but an administrative hitch meant that the loan agreement was not finalised at the FA until 11.57 on Friday - just three minutes before the noon deadline for FA Trophy eligibility.