Basement dwellers can be a turning point for Villagers

YEAR AT THE HELM: Jules Mumford, whose year as Long Melford manager included proving his own fitness for a 100-mile charity cycle ride in August
YEAR AT THE HELM: Jules Mumford, whose year as Long Melford manager included proving his own fitness for a 100-mile charity cycle ride in August

Long Melford visit bottom side Downham Town on Saturday (3pm) with their manager 
believing they will soon prove to be lying in a false position.

Jules Mumford will mark a year in charge in the dugout at Stoneylands on February 13.

By that time, he is confident he can start replicating the form which saw him start the job with just one defeat in five.

The Villagers’ season looks to be petering out with even Mumford admitting a top-10 finish, and with it automatic qualification for next season’s FA Cup, looking beyond their reach.

But the 13th-placed side, who go into Saturday’s game at the division’s basement side off the back of a disappointing 4-0 defeat at Fakenham Town and just one win in eight, are far from ready to start contemplating their summer holidays.

“The last nine games we have played all the top sides,” said Mumford, who was assistant manager before being promoted to the top job. “We have 12 games left and we are looking to pick up points in most games now.

“We have been in all those games, apart from Saturday.

“Against Haverhill (Borough 1-1) we conceded in the last minute and against Great Yarmouth (1-1) they scored in injury-time — we have been more than a match for those teams.”

With third-from-bottom Needham Market Reserves to follow at Stoneylands on Wednesday (7.45pm), before a 17-day break before 
Team Bury (ninth) visit on February 22, Mumford is confident they can celebrate his anniversary six points better off.

“Every manager has been complementary about us and we have given teams good games,” he said. “We have conceded too many goals in the last five minutes of games and it is so frustrating.”

He added: “We definitely have a squad capable of getting more points on the board.

“Last year was about bringing all the youngsters in and this year we have added to the squad, but we have just not had anyone available every week and it has killed us really.”

One of those players expected to make a big impact was former Haverhill Rovers midfielder Joe Harvey, who has struggled to get a run of games while serving suspensions and nursing injuries.

Although unavailable on Saturday, he is set to be back for Wednesday’s home match.

Mumford, who is looking to better last season’s 13th-place finish, picked out summer signing Ross Waugh, from Boxford Rovers, along with fellow teenager Ritchie Abbott as two of the side’s most impressive young players.

“Ross Waugh has been outstanding all season really,” he said of the midfielder. “Ritchie Abbott is another youngster who has impressed us this year.

“Tom Wingfield has kept getting niggling injuries and struggled to get going this season. When we wanted to play him for the Under-18s to get match fit, the games have been called off.”