Hadleigh still hit by injury crisis ahead of Vase clash

EVER PRESENT: James Ross (right), pictured in action during Saturdays 3-0 Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division defeat against Thetford Town, along with Damon Artiss, has played in all of Hadleigh Uniteds first 12 games of the 2016/17 season

EVER PRESENT: James Ross (right), pictured in action during Saturdays 3-0 Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division defeat against Thetford Town, along with Damon Artiss, has played in all of Hadleigh Uniteds first 12 games of the 2016/17 season

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Hadleigh United boss Stuart Alston is facing a major injury crisis ahead of their Buildbase FA Vase clash with Waltham Forest this weekend.

Alston is set to be without up to 10 first-team players for the visit to Wadham Lodge, with United looking to book their place in the first round of this season’s FA Vase.

First choice goalkeeper Sam Mansfield (broken wrist) is one of the latest players to join the growing injury list at the Millfield, which also includes Tom Driscoll, Brett Crisp, Michael Barwick and Toby Rose.

Aaron Bull, Garry Burdett and Dan Knight are likely to miss the trip into north east London through injury, leaving Brettsiders’ chief Alston with a predominantly youthful squad once again this weekend.

“It’s difficult at the moment because we’ve got 10 first-team players out injured,” he said.

“Injuries have hampered us. We scraped through last week against Clacton who have made massive improvements under their new boss.

“On Saturday at Thetford every player who started was under 21, with players coming in from the Under-18s and reserves.

“It’s not ideal. The youngsters, although they’re technically there, physically they’re not there yet.

“It’s definitely a great experience for them and a few have been called up for Suffolk this year because of their experience playing at first-team level.

“They’re only going to get better. We’re being killed for making mistakes and not putting the ball in the net at the other end, but I’m hoping they will learn from it.”

After losing 3-0 to Thetford Town in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division on Saturday, the Brettsiders suffered a 7-0 defeat to Brantham Athletic in the League Challenge Cup on Tuesday night.

Hadleigh will be boosted by the returns of Ben Golding (holiday) and Kyle Cassell (work) for this weekend, before heading to Haverhill Rovers for their latest league fixture on Tuesday (7.45pm).

n Long Melford enter the FA Vase at the second qualifying round stage this weekend, as they prepare to host lower-league Baldock Town at Stoneylands on Saturday (3pm).

The Villagers lost 4-3 to their Spartan South Midlands League Division One opponents at the same stage of the competition two years ago, but go into Saturday’s encounter with confidence after a 4-2 win at Swaffham Town.

Jules Mumford’s side return to Premier Division action with a trip to Stanway Rovers on Tuesday (7.45pm).

n Halstead Town will be hoping to continue their recent run of success in the cup competitions when they host higher league St Margaretsbury in the FA Vase this Saturday (3pm).

Mark Benterman’s men have already beaten four teams higher up than them in the football pyramid this season, and will be aiming to add the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division outfit to their list of victims.

The Humbugs maintained their unbeaten record this season in the First Division last time out, beating Team Bury 4-0 at the Milbanks Stadium last Saturday.

n Elsewhere, Cornard United switch their focus back to the league after suffering early exits in three different cup competitions in the last two weeks.

After being knocked out of the First Division Knockout Cup and FA Vase, the Ards were thrashed 7-2 by lower-league Stanton in the first round of the Suffolk Senior Cup on Saturday.

Chris Tracey’s side, who were due to host Whitton United last night, visit Needham Market Reserves this Saturday (3pm).

n Hadleigh United’s Dan Knight and James Gaffer, and Sudbury’s Milo Grimes, Jake Colclough, Joe Wright, Ollie Dunlop and Ben Hunter have been named in the Suffolk Under-18s squad for their trip to Essex on September 29.