Hadleigh missing midfield men for big FA Vase clash

DANGERMAN: Winger Scott Chaplin goes into Saturday's game in hot form, leading the club's scoring charts with 13 goals in 23 games, scoring twice in three Vase games
DANGERMAN: Winger Scott Chaplin goes into Saturday's game in hot form, leading the club's scoring charts with 13 goals in 23 games, scoring twice in three Vase games

Hadliegh United are bidding to reach the third round of the FA Vase for the first time in 17 years when they travel to face Colney Heath on Saturday.

But manager Stuart Crawford faces a big decision in who to play in his midfield engine room ahead of what he describes as a ‘massive game’ for the club.

Central midfielder pairing Neil Calver and Mark Maher are both unvailable for the cup clash having played a massive role in Hadleigh’s rapid rise up the Thurlow Nunn Premier Dvision table.

The Brettsiders travel to Hertfordshire on the back of an excellent 3-1 win at title hopefuls Brantham Athletic on Saturday, which put them fourth, just six points behind leaders Mildenhall Town with two games in hand on Hall.

It was Hadleigh’s fourth straight league win and sixth straight victory in all competitions, meaning they face the 10th-placed Spartan South Midlands Premier Division side in red-hot form.

“We are going there full of confidence and we know we have enough ability to go there and win,” said Crawford. “It is a blow we have two main men out of the game in Neil Calver, who is suspensed, and Mark Maher, who is cup-tied.

“Along with Ollie Canfer, they have been dominating in midfield over the last few weeks.

“It will be a big blow but we have to rejig and hopefully we will still have enough about us.”

Liam Jennings made his return from a lengthy injury lay-off in the reserves on Saturday alongside Mark Gaisford and will be in Crawford’s thoughts.

But defender Kris Rose is definitely out and is waiting on the results of an MRI scan on his knee.

Crawford saidleft-sided player Ashley Sloots has told him he is likely to be available to play on Saturday, following an approach from AFC Sudbury.

Goalkeeper Dan Heath will return to the starting XI after a shoulder injury.

The winners of the tie will receive £1,200 in prize money.

Hadliegh last got past the second round back in 1994/95, losing in the fifth round