AFC Sudbury’s new creative force, Dave Cowley, has tipped the Yellows to challenge for the title this season.
The former West Ham United and Southend United trainee signed from Harlow Town, where he was the supporters’ player of the season, in July following budget cuts at the Essex club.
And the 24-year-old winger or attacking midfielder cannot wait to get going with his new club, who finished eight points adrift of the play-offs last season in Ryman League Division One North.
“I think this year with Sudbury we have a good side and a good manager with unbelievable facilities,” he said. “Since I have been here it looks like we have some great fans that want to get behind the team and we are on the up.
“I know we will have a good season and hopefully we are more than capable of winning the league, if not winning the play-offs.”
Cowley played with fellow new recruit Tom Webb at the Glenn Hoddle Academy in Spain after a spell in the USA, signing for Recreativo de Huelva, in Spain’s second tier, in July 2009. He went on to make three first-team appearances and a spell out on loan saw him playing in front of 25,000 fans.
“They are massive and I signed a big contract with them and I was over the moon that I had made it,” he said. “But it just didn’t work out I missed home and just wanted to come home.”
Now working for golf company Motocaddy, Harlow-based Cowley is hoping to win his first senior league title with AFC Sudbury, having previously tasted play-off defeat with his hometown club in 2010/11.
He said: “I wanted to come to a side that is going for promotion and I spoke to Chris (Tracey) and I know a few of the boys that have come over to Sudbury.
“He gave me the right information that I wanted to hear and with the side we have got at the moment I am sure we are contenders for the title and I am more than happy to be here.”
He added: “With the teams in our league, most of our players can play a lot higher and we should be able to do well in the league playing good football, I’m not saying we will win every game, there will be games when we have our off days and we might lose the odd game. But I would like to think we will be there-or-there-abouts and I would like to say this time next year we are champions.
“They are a great bunch of lads and I am really excited.”
Cowley said the players prefer playing in a diamond midfield set-up as they did at Bury Town on Friday and hopes he can top the assists chart for striker Lee Boylan, playing at the tip of the midfield.
“I love to play at the top as I get on the ball more there, rather than being wide and dropping in,” he said. “With Shinny (Michael Shinn) at the bottom it gives us a good core of the team.”
He predicts their main rivals for the league will be Grays Athletic, Maldon and Tiptree and Needham Market.
* See this week’s Suffolk Free Press for our fixtures poster.