New boss insists Hadleigh can retain Premier status

ON THE MOVE: Danny Thrower (left) has left Hadleigh, with many more players tipped to depart in the near future.
ON THE MOVE: Danny Thrower (left) has left Hadleigh, with many more players tipped to depart in the near future.

Stuart Alston is confident he is the right man to keep Hadleigh United in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division next season.

It has been a turbulent summer so far for the Brettsiders, who recently announced their playing budget would be slashed for the new campaign.

The news was accompanied by the departure of manager Ian Brown, while Danny Thrower, Marley Splinder and Ben Nower have also headed for the exit door, with more players expected to follow suit over the coming weeks.

Alston, who has spent the last four seasons managing the club’s under-18 and reserve sides, will step into the breach left by Brown.

The new man at the helm is planning to promote a number of players from the youth ranks at Millfield, but he does not see that being detrimental to the club’s Step Five status.

“It is a great opportunity for me and a big chance for some of the young lads to prove themselves,” he said.

“It is unquestionably a big step up, but a lot of the players I have been coaching are good enough to make it.

“We will go into the season as one of the relegation favourites, so it is up to us to prove people wrong.

“The club have told me my challenge is to preserve our Premier Division status and that is achievable.

“As long as we finish fourth from bottom it will be job done. Any higher than that will be the cherry on top of the cake.

“We will be underdogs every week, but with a great team spirit and the right work-rate, anything is possible.”

While Alston’s side will be dominated by inexperience, he is still keen to inject a senior flavouring into the squad for the challenge ahead.

Preliminary discussions have taken place with a number of targets, while he remains hopeful that a sprinkling of last season’s side can be convinced to stay.

“Conversations have taken place and will continue over the next couple of weeks,” the former Hadleigh player added.

“This is a strong, physical league and with that in mind we could do with the odd player that has experienced it.

“We know that most of the lads from last year will be looking to leave. They need the money and that is fair enough.

“But, it would be great if some decided to carry on and help with the fight.”

n Meanwhile, Halstead Town’s plans for another season in the First Division have been boosted by the confirmation that a number of last term’s squad have re-signed.

Lee Hurkett, Nick Wilderspin, Ricky Spriggs, Charlie Pleace, Marcus Warren, James Murray, Julian Simon-Parson, Jake Brown, Tom Cook, Jordan Hutchings and Sam Cripps have all agreed to remain at Rosemary Lane.

The club have also confirmed five pre-season friendlies, starting with a trip to Premier Division Stanway Rovers on July 7.

That is followed by West Wratting (A, July 16), Felixstowe (H, July 19), Southend Manor (H, July 23) and Hedingham (H, July 27).