CHAMPIONSHIP side Derby County are set to spend three days of their pre-season training using Cornard United’s Blackhouse Lane pitch.
The Rams have planned to stay at the Stoke-by-Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa complex and are due to use the nearby Thurlow Nunn League outfit’s first-team pitch ahead of a friendly with League One Colchester United on August 3.
It follows on from Cornard owner Chris Symes hosting Stuart Pearce’s England Under-21s side prior to their friendly at Colchester’s Western Homes Community Stadium for a European Championship qualifier against Iceland in November.
Symes said: “They went to the hotel (Stoke-by-Nayland) last year when they played Ipswich and they were set to come to us, but because of the weather they didn’t.
“This time they contacted me and asked if they could come and I said ‘yes’ and they are coming back to confirm when the hotel is all booked.”
Symes, entering his 19th season at Cornard, is expecting to be able to name a new manager early week to take over first-team duties from himself, as his long bid to sell the club continues.
“I have interviewed three new managers and I shall make a decision this weekend,” he said. “I will still own the club until I sell it.
“I am still working on that with the solicitors and it takes time both ends getting ready to sell.
“There are people that are half-interested and it will go.”
The Cornard United adult five-a-side competition takes place on Sunday (9.30am-3.30pm) with late registration still available on the day with teams needing to report at 9am prompt at Blackhouse Lane.
Hadleigh United have signed 20-year-old defender Oliver Brown from Whitton United.
The former Ipswich Town schoolboy was a major influence in Whitton’s victory against Long Melford in last season’s Suffolk Senior Cup final at Portman Road.
He is the son of new Hadleigh coach Ian Brown, who recently stood down after three years as manager of Whitton.
Hadleigh have also signed free-scoring striker James Blades from Suffolk and Ipswich League team Leiston St Margaret’s.
They join other newcomers Scott Chaplin, Neil Calver and Mark Goldfinch at the Millfield.
The Brettsiders are the first Eastern Counties level team in the area back in pre-season action, with Stuart Crawford’s side travelling to Humber Doucy Lane to test themselves out against Ipswich Wanderers on Saturday (2.30pm). A full list of pre-season friendlies can be found in this week’s Suffolk Free Press.
Saffron Waldon have been accepted to rejoin the Thurlow Nunn League First Division (formerly known as the Ridgeons League) after having to pull out at the start of last season.
Meanwhile, Braintree Town Reserves have been accepted into the 18-team First Division (up from 16 teams) but will not be able to be promoted to the 20-team Premier Division, where Wivenhoe Town were given a reprieve from relegation after Wroxham’s promotion to the Ryman League.
The season begins on August 4 for sides taking part in this year’s FA Cup competition (Cornard United have not made the cut and start their league campaign on August 11) and promotion will work on a three up and three down basis between the leagues.
Halstead Town, who will host their popular Sainsbury’s quiz night in their clubhouse tomorrow (7.30pm) have appointed Andrew Charles as their new first-team coach.
The Rosemary Lane outfit have been drawn at home to Premier Division side Haverhill Rovers in the Red Insure Cup (formerly Ridgeons League Cup) on October 23. Halstead will travel to Long Melford in the First Division Knockout Cup on November 3.
Cornard United will travel to Brantham Athletic on the week beginning September 24 in the preliminary round of the Red Insure Cup with the winners facing Wivenhoe Town in the first round (week beginning October 22).
Long Melford will host Brightlinsea Regent or Braintree Town Reserves in the first round while Hadleigh United will travel to Walsham-le-Willows.
In the First Division Knockout Cup, Cornard United will host Stowmarket Town on September 8 in the prelimiary round with the winners facing a home tie against Saffron Walden Town or Braintree Town Reserves on November 3.
The draw for the opening qualifying rounds of this season’s FA Cup will take place tomorrow.
• GLEMSFORD and Cavendish United will begin pre-season training on Tuesday and Thursday (7pm) at Cavendish sports ground.
Both teams are looking for more players to strengthen newly promoted sides in the Cambs league and would welcome people along. Any queries contact manager Glenn Sorrell on 01787 280050.