Mumford to stick with his promotion-winning team

IMPRESSIVE DEBUT: New signing Reece Clarke (left) caught the eye during Long Melford's first pre-season friendly on Saturday

IMPRESSIVE DEBUT: New signing Reece Clarke (left) caught the eye during Long Melford's first pre-season friendly on Saturday

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Long Melford manager Jules Mumford insists there will not be a ‘total rebuild’ of his squad ahead of their first season in the Premier Division.

The Villagers confirmed their first new summer signings following their narrow friendly defeat to Braintree Town on Saturday, but Mumford does not expect to see many more new faces come into his squad.

Haverhill Borough’s Ashley Drew and Debenham LC’s Reece Clarke have both taken the step up from the First Division with Melford, while experienced midfielder Glen Harris has returned to the club.

“I’m hoping to add a few more but there won’t be a total rebuild of the squad,” Mumford said. “We’ve brought Reece and Ashley in to make it a bit more competitive.

“We’ll be running with last season’s squad as they got us there (Premier Division).”

Drew clocked up 50 games for Borough after joining from First Division rivals Halstead Town back in November 2013, with the Villagers having tried to sign the defender around the time of his switch to Haverhill.

Clarke, who operates mainly as a central midfielder, made 40 appearances for Debenham last season, and caught the eye of Mumford while playing for the Hornets against his Melford side.

“Reece played against us at home last year and really stood out,” the Melford boss said. “He ran the show for Debenham and I decided to see at the end of the season what his plans were.

“The chance to go up a league with us persuaded him, and he’s fitted in great so far.

“The boys have been training hard. We had 19 lads on Saturday and it was a great performance against Braintree.

“Everyone was buzzing for it before the game and I was really pleased with how it went. It doesn’t matter much about results in pre-season but it would have been nice to get a draw.

“We conceded in the last minute, but we’ve learnt a lot of things from the game and it was good fitness for the boys.”

Ryman League Division One North sides Brightlingsea Regent and AFC Sudbury both visit Melford in the next week, with Regent coming to Stoneylands tomorrow (7.45pm) and Sudbury to follow on Tuesday (7.45pm).

n Cornard United lost 2-1 to Cromer Town in their first pre-season friendly.

New signing Tom Lampshire was on target for the Ards, who host FC Clacton on Friday and Felixstowe and Walton United on Tuesday (both 7.45pm).

n Hadleigh United continue their pre-season preparations with the visit of Leiston to the Millfield tomorrow (7.45pm), while Halstead Town visit Hedinghams United on Saturday.