Halstead youngster tipped to earn a professional deal

CLOSE CONTROL: Action from AFC Sudbury Reserves' 2-1 win at Debenham LC in the First Division on Saturday, with Carl Daw and Lee Owen on target
CLOSE CONTROL: Action from AFC Sudbury Reserves' 2-1 win at Debenham LC in the First Division on Saturday, with Carl Daw and Lee Owen on target

Halstead Town manager Mark Benterman believes 17-year-old defender Ian Foulger is capable of breaking through into the professional game.

After watching the right-back or centre-half put in a stand-out performance in their 3-2 Essex Senior Cup first round win over Takeley on Tuesday night, the Town boss believes he can go far.

“I have played with a lot of professional footballers in my time and he is the best 17-year-old I have ever seen,” he said of the player who was set to play for Halstead Town’s Under-18s at Fulham Academy yesterday.

“He has all the attributes to be a professional footballer — the kid is excellent.”

Benterman believed his side did not deserve to lose so heavily at step five side Great Wakering Rovers in the FA Cup on Saturday.

“The result did not show us in the best light and it was not a 5-0,” he said.

Halstead are looking to make it three wins in as many Thurlow Nunn League First Division matches when they host Great Yarmouth Town tomorrow (3pm), but have passed up the opportunity to sign an unnamed striker.

Cornard United manager Mark Hoskins believes he has pulled off two signings that will dramatically strengthen his starting XI.

The Ards boss has convinced 25-year-old central defender James Laird to switch Saffron Walden Town, where he joined in the summer, for Blackhouse Lane while also capturing the services of 24-year-old defensive midfielder or striker Matt Knight from Halstead Town.

“They are two big signings for the club,” said Hoskins, whose side lost 1-0 at home to Braintree Town Reserves on Saturday ahead of travelling to Fakenham Town in the First Division this Saturday (3pm) and hosting Haverhill Borough on Tuesday (7.45pm).

“James is a big, no-nonsense tall centre-half and he can stabilise the defence a bit.

“He is a natural centre-half, which we have not got, and he will bolster us no end.”

Of Saturday’s defeat he said: “We are creating plenty of chances, but just not putting them away.”

Hadleigh United boss Stuart Crawford has challenged his players to come away from their two Premier Division home games in a week, Kirkley and Pakefield on Saturday (3pm) and Brightlingsea Regent on Tuesday (7.45pm), with all six points.

“We have got two home games and we will definitely want to come out of it with six points,” he said.

He was delighted with his side’s solid 2-0 FA Cup win at Takeley on Saturday.

“Overall it was a really good team performance,” he said.

Injuries mean Duane Wright (hand), Matt Downing (Achilles) and goalkeeper Fred Howe (finger) are all unlikely to be involved over the next week, which comes before they host Romford in the preliminary round of the FA Cup next Saturday (3pm).

Long Melford will be looking to bounce back from Tuesday’s 4-2 defeat at Debenham LC when hosting March Town United on Saturday (3pm).