Hadleigh hope goal burden no longer on injured Cassell

INJURED START: Kyle Cassell (red), Hadleighs leading scorer last season, is still recovering from a broken foot as the 2017/18 campaign kicks off
INJURED START: Kyle Cassell (red), Hadleighs leading scorer last season, is still recovering from a broken foot as the 2017/18 campaign kicks off

Hadleigh United’s assistant manager Andrew Crisp is backing new signing Josh Cheetham to score the 15-20 goals that should ensure the Brettsiders remain clear of relegation trouble.

With a re-organisation of the football pyramid, including a new Step 6 league in the area, set to be implemented next season, it is still unclear how many teams will be set for the chop from the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division.

But with a minimum of four and a maximum of seven teams set to be relegated, Crisp says they are not taking any chances with the targets they set themselves.

“Our target is to try and get mid-table,” he revealed.

“Obviously it is going to be difficult with the amounts of money that seem to be being thrown around the division.

“But we have got to have a goal so we don’t end up in another relegation battle.”

It was an uncomfortable season for those watching on at the Millfield last term, as scrapping paying players in favour of filling the squad with youth players almost left them dropping into the First Division.

But a few late results ensured their survival in Stuart Alston’s first season at the helm. And with the manager away on holiday still, assistant Crisp is looking to get their season off to a winning start with Saturday’s home Emirates FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round tie with Sporting Bengal United (3pm).

“The fortunate thing for us is we have managed to retain everyone from last season,” said Crisp.

“Kyle Cassell, who is recovering from an injury (broken foot) is the only player who has not yet signed up, but the indications are he will.”

Cassell, who split his playing time with the Army and Hadleigh, was the only player at the club to hit double figures last season, with 10.

And Crisp believes new addition Josh Cheetham, a 22-year-old who was previously with Leiston Reserves and Whitton United, can help ease the goalscoring burden considerably.

“Leiston were keen to sign him again but we were lucky enough to convince him to sign for us,” he said.

“He has set himself a target of 15-20 goals this season, so we just need to make sure we can supply the ammunition for him to score the goals. He has got the firepower.”

Operating with no playing budget other than covering expenses, a targetman has eluded Hadleigh this summer, but Crisp pinpointed a couple of other young additions who may be able to make an impression in the first team.

“Kyle Andrews is quick and very skilful. Hopefully he can get us a few goals as well.” he said.

“We also have Kyle Ferguson, another young lad who is a forward (from Needham).”