Thurlow Nunn preview: Hadleigh United boss would be happy with weekend off

EXTRA RESPONSIBILITY: With a big injury list, Hadleigh will need top scorer Josh Mayhew to be on top form
EXTRA RESPONSIBILITY: With a big injury list, Hadleigh will need top scorer Josh Mayhew to be on top form

While Suffolk’s non-League bosses are likely to be found praying for games to beat the weather, Stuart Crawford is happy to do a rain dance.

The Hadleigh United manager is in the enviable position of having completed more league games than any of the other 19 Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division sides.

And with a seemingly ever-increasing injury list — which kept four regulars out of their 2-0 Red Insure Cup quarter-final defeat to Newmarket Town on Tuesday — he can be forgiven for not being upset if Saturday’s trip to Kirkley and Pakefield (3pm) does not get past their own car park.

“If it gets called off it would not be a bad thing really,” he admitted, with a big FA Vase fifth-round home tie with Wisbech Town lying ahead in a week’s time.

But after Tuesday night’s cup exit, in a game in which Crawford said they should have put the tie to bed with a glut of first-half chances, making it back-to-back defeats for the first time this season, he is not about to let any more games slip by.

“We have 11 (league) games left and I have said to the boys ‘every game is a cup final’,” he said. “There is no game without importance on it now.

“The trouble is we are top of the pile and everyone wants to beat us and they raise their game when they play us.

“We just need to come through this little hitch.”

Should tomorrow’s game against a side who have not won in eight attempts beat the effects of the forecast rain (log on to www.suffolkfree for updates), Crawford will be without: 
Tesfaye Bramble (hamstring), Neil Calver (knee), Liam Jennings (back), Scott Chaplin (ankle) and Matt Downing (work commitments).

Defender Kris Rose (thigh) will face a late fitness test for Hadleigh, who could be overhauled by Brightlingsea Regent if they were to win their eight games in hand.

Meanwhile, Cornard United are offering free entry to all Cornard Dynamos players, parents, staff, volunteers and committee to Saturday’s First Division encounter with Halstead Town (3pm).

Dynamos’ and Halstead’s under-sevens will form a guard of honour ahead of kick-off and train on the Blackhouse Lane pitch at half-time.

Long Melford’s match at Downham Town on Saturday, which ended in a 3-0 defeat for the Villagers, was the only game to beat the wet weather in the First Division.

Jules Mumford’s side moved their fixture with Needham Market Reserves to last night, due to county youth call-ups for their opposition.

Melford have a free weekend before hosting Team Bury a week Saturday (3pm).