WITHAM Town manager Adam Flint has backed another of the club’s rising stars to step up to first-team duties after the surprise departure of Lance Akins to Coggeshall Town.

Flint admitted that Akins’ decision to step down a level by heading to the Thurlow Nunn League Seedgrowers had left him baffled, but said he didn’t feel the need to bring new players into the club as he was keen to progress youngsters from the youth and reserve ranks.

The Town boss sees Jack Kemsley as being capable of filling Akins’ place in Witham’s defensive unit after being impressed by him in the club’s under-18s, reserves and when he has seen first-team action and feels the youngster is ready to step up.

Flint said: “If players want to drop down a level then I, personally, have to question where their intentions are.

“Lance has had what I consider to be better options come in, but he’s decided to drop down for whatever reason.

“However, Jack Kemsley will be good enough to step up.

“He would have come in next year so it’s just moving him through a bit earlier.

“He was in the under-18s last year in the same group as Chi (Chinedu Osadebe) but he broke his wrist so that set him back a bit.

“He played against Dagenham for us in the Essex Senior Cup with a broken wrist and played really well.

“He’ll be our cover and if he needs to go in then he will.

“Lance moving on just opens these opportunities for other boys now.

“We have plenty of cover so we are happy with what we have got.

“It’s about us looking to bring players through.

“We have used a lot of youth players in our time here – there have been 14 from our youth teams, the reserves and the (Braintree) Academy.

“That’s a lot and something that I don’t think has been done before at the club so we’ll keep pushing them up.

“There is plenty to play for and I trust Jack.

“I will have no hesitation in putting him on because he is fearless, so we’re not looking for anyone outside the club.”

Kemsley was an unused substitute as Witham were beaten 1-0 at Bury Town in midweek and, added to a 1-1 draw at Cheshunt last weekend, they head into games at home against Norwich United on Saturday and at Mildenhall Town on Tuesday on the back of three outings without a win.

Flint was frustrated by the defeat at Bury as it was a further blow to their hopes of making it into the Bostik League division north play-offs this year and he has challenged his players to step up their challenge rather than seeing the campaign peter out.

The Town boss said: “We just sort of huffed and puffed and that’s been the case for the last two or three games.

“I don’t know why that is but I’ve said to them ‘do you want the season to peter out?’ “We need to have a go because we’re still in something here.

“They’ve said they do but I have to see a bit more from them to be honest.

“I’m just disappointed at the moment.

“We just have to get back on it and we have to look at Norwich United on Saturday and look at it as a game where we can roll them over like we did against Sudbury when they came to us.

“We just have to try and get some goals.

“We are defending well, but the goals just haven’t come in the last couple of games.

“There are still 45 points to play for.

“60 points was our target at the start of the season and that’s still the first aim.

“Let’s get to that first because we said at the start that we wanted to keep improving and we have done since we’ve come in.

“Getting those 20 points is our next target and we can go from there.”