Hadleigh boss hopes to reveal new player

CUP EXIT: Hadleigh's Michael Steward in action in the defeat to Heybridge Swifts
CUP EXIT: Hadleigh's Michael Steward in action in the defeat to Heybridge Swifts

HADLEIGH United manager Stuart Crawford hopes to have a new face to bolster his injury-hit defence ahead of Saturday’s FA Vase first qualifying round home tie with Stowmarket Town on Saturday (3pm).

With youngster Dan Colthorpe having gone travelling until the New Year, the Brettsiders’ manager has been left with just one fit centre-half at the club in Chris Rose - following injuries to Simon Head (achilles) and Paul Donnelly (metatarsal).

But Crawford, whose side were in league action last night at Woodbridge Town, has been speaking to a number of clubs this week, including AFC Sudbury, Brantham Athletic and Debenham LC, in the hope of recruiting at least one new defensive player ahead of Saturday’s cup game. Meanwhile, with Alan Ross out for the season (cruciate knee ligament) an approach has been made to his old club Walsham-le-Willows to speak to their captain and striker James Tatham about a move.

“I am working hard to get bodies in,” said Crawford. “We desperately need bodies in defence. We are down to one fit centre-half and the rest of the lads at the football club are kids.”

Following the 4-1 defeat at the hands of Ryman League side Heybridge Swifts in the FA Cup at Millfield last weekend, the Hadleigh boss has told his side if they keep defending like they have been they will not be winning any games this season.

He said: “It is a very frustrating time for me, the way we are playing defensively we are giving away goals and I have said to the lads that if we keep playing like this we are not going to beat any opposition.”

Following their FA Cup defeat, Crawford sees a win against lower-league Stowmarket Town in the FA Carlsberg Vase as the perfect tonic, but is not expecting an easy ride against Steve Jay’s men, the man he used to play under.

“I think at the start of the season we have got to say to ourselves it is a competition we should be able to have success in but like any competition it depends what happens on the day,” he said. “We need to sharpen up defensively and if we do we have a good chance to progress but they have got strikers Craig Payne, who was with us, and Wayne Proctor, who scores goals, and Steve Jay’s sides are always up for a battle.”

Ollie Canfer (hamstring) should be back for Saturday’s game against Stowmarket, who were pointless after four games before last night’s match with Ipswich Wanderers.

Hadleigh then return to Ridgeons League Premier Division action at Stanway Rovers next Wednesday (7.45pm).