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Break in play gives injured Ards more time to recover

STAYING PUT: Cornard's Mason Lumley has rejected the chance to join fellow First Division side Holland FC
STAYING PUT: Cornard's Mason Lumley has rejected the chance to join fellow First Division side Holland FC

Cornard United’s Thurlow Nunn League First Division match at Team Bury was called off on Tuesday, but joint manager Ryan Lines wasn’t complaining.

With no game this Saturday, Cornard were last in action on February 24, and their next fixture is a Division One KO Cup quarter-final at home to Braintree Town Reserves on Tuesday (7.45pm), a gap of 17 days.

“We needed the break,” said Lines. “We have some hard games coming up, and this gives our injured players a little more time to get back to fitness.”

Ryan McGibbon and Dave Dowding are carrying knocks, Mason Lumley limped off early in the last game at promotion-chasing Swaffham Town, a 7-2 defeat, and youngster Max Dinell was knocked out late in the same game.

Lumley has been attracting the attention of scouts, and this week turned down a seven-day approach from fellow First Division club Holland FC.

With recent signings Jake Hearn, Ben Parkin and Ben Morrell short of game time, Lines and joint manager Liam Aves are concentrating on building up fitness for the challenges ahead.

With Ram Meadow ruled unfit on Tuesday, Cornard’s players were in for training last night.

The club are hoping to arrange a friendly for Saturday. “If we can’t get a game, we’ll be in for training,” said Lines.

Victory over Braintree would mean a semi-final against Debenham LC or last season’s runners-up Wisbech St Mary.

The other semi-final sees Whitton United take on Norwich United Reserves.

“We didn’t set our sights on a cup run when we arrived here, but now it would be good,” said Lines. “There are some big sides left in the competition, so this is a big game for us now.

“Braintree could put in a couple of first team players. You never know what you will get with reserve sides.”

A cup run aside, the main target for Lines and Aves is to reach 48 points in the league. Last season’s 47 was the best for several years, and they want to beat that.

The club is currently on 34 points with 10 games left.

“We have taken a little time to get used to this higher league, but if the club had enjoyed a good start to the season, who knows where we might have been?

“So we’ve still got to work hard,” Lines added. “But if somebody had told me that in January and February we would win five out of six, I’d have bitten their hand off.

“If we can keep the players we’ve got, and add a few who have played higher during the summer, next season could be much better. We’ve got a few irons in the fire.”

He described the defeat at Swaffham as: “A bit of a reality check. We had been winning but not playing well. It was a one-off, I hope.”

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