Players look to do it for keeper Sam

Long Melford’s recovering goalkeeper will be at the forefront of the players’ minds as they look to take the club to the second round of the FA Vase for the first time in eight years.

Sam Mansfield was able to leave the intensive care unit at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds on Tuesday night after suffering a punctured lung and two broken ribs in a vehicle collision in Sudbury in the middle of last week.

Ashley Skeggs dedicated his goal in Friday’s 3-0 derby win against Cornard United to his friend and now will look to cause a big cup upset for him when they host Thurlow Nunn Premier Division high-flyers Brantham Athletic on Saturday (3pm).

Of Saturday’s Vase tie, assistant manager Jules Mumford said: “It is a big game for the club, we are pleased to get to the first round proper as it is a number of years since that happened and we have nothing to lose playing against Brantham who are hot favourites.”

Melford, who last got past the first round of the competition in 2004/05 when they were knocked out in a third round replay against Brook House.

Young reserve keeper Liam Hastie will continue in goal but Ashley Williams is out for three to six weeks with torn ankle ligaments while Justin Crissell remains sidelined.

Skeggs, normally a midfielder or defender, will continue to fill departed Dan Cann’s boots up front, although Mumford did say approaches had been made for two unnamed strikers.

Meanwhile, Hadleigh United host fellow Premier Division side Walsham-le-Willows in the same stage of the competition on Saturday (3pm) buoyed by knocking Ryman League outfit Needham Market out of the Suffolk FA Premier Cup 2-1 on Tuesday night.