Melford aiming for a top-10 finish

Long Melford manager Jules Mumford is aiming to get the Villagers back into the FA Cup with a top-10 finish.

The Stoneylands club ended 13th in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division last season after newly-installed boss Robbie Benson departed, to be replaced by assistant Mumford in mid-February.

And Mumford is hopeful his first full season in charge, having been involved in the management team since 2011, can progress them.

“We want to be in the top 10 this season at least and I want to have a go at the Suffolk Senior Cup as well as that is something I would love to win,” said Mumford who has added four signings in defender or midfielders Chris McMahon (Wormingford Wanderers) and Pete Whitwell (Cornard United) and midfielders Joe Harvey (Glemsford and Cavendish United and Haverhill Rovers) and Ross Waugh (Boxford Rovers).

Last season’s captain Justin Crissell and veteran striker Martin Wescott have both left for Saffron Walden Town, along with experienced defender Gareth Thomas, who faces an early return to Stoneylands with Halstead Town on Wednesday (7.45pm).

Before that, Melford kick-off their season at home to Swaffham Town on Saturday (3pm).

“They are two sides I feel will do well this season,” said Mumford.

“Swaffham are strong this year and have just re-signed Joe Jackson who was with Wisbech and they will be strong and so will Halstead, who have had some good results in pre-season.”

Former Haverhill Rovers midfielder Harvey, 25, is the one player who Mumford expects to make a big impact, but he is unavailable for the opening game due to cricket commitments.

“He started out at Tottenham and Northampton and he was playing locally for Glemsford and Cavendish last season due to not being able to travel due to his work commitments.

“I have been trying to get him for the last few years and when I was at Sudbury Athletic,” said Mumford whose side lost 3-1 at West Wratting on Saturday (Waugh) before Tuesday’s 1-1 home draw with Bacton United (Chaise Guyon).

Melford’s squad will include a trio of 16-year-olds in Tom Wingfield, Sam Bayliss and Harry Fryer with the average age around 22.

Tom’s 18-year-old brother Will Wingfield, who 
finished joint top league scorer last season with eight goals along with Jack Durey, is only available until he goes to university in October.

Experienced defender Michael Owen (torn calf ) is sidelined while key defender Errol Durrel is away on holiday for the first week of the campaign and is yet to sign forms.