Michael Schofield gives his thoughts on taking over Cornard United
After two new signings helped them to ‘the perfect start’ on Saturday, Cornard United’s new managers have said there will be no sea change of players under their regime this season.
Michael Schofield and Matt Groves, both just 25, stepped up from within Liam Aves’ first-team squad at Blackhouse Lane after their boss was sacked last week to become one of the youngest managerial pairings in senior football in the country.
Aided by two new additions, they were left celebrating delivering the Ards their first win in five attempts with a 2-1 home victory over Wisbech St Mary in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North on Saturday.
But former Brantham Athletic striker Sean Bartlett, who got off the mark to put Cornard ahead before Charlie Hayes made it 2-1 after they were pegged back, and former Wivenhoe Town man Andy Schofield, will not be part of a flood of new additions, according to Michael Schofield.
“The last couple of seasons it’s almost been 11 in and 11 out; we won’t be doing that,” he said. “We feel there is a good mix between experience and youth and two or three more talented lads needed to add to the squad.
“We were very fortunate to get Sean Bartlett over the line in time for our first game Saturday. And his goal showed everyone why, but its not just his quality on the pitch we signed him for. He’s such a great guy and great professional off the pitch that he’s perfect for the dressing room.
“Obviously getting Andy Schofield in was a no brainer for us. Being my brother we knew exactly what we get from him.
“He was superb on Saturday with all the lads voting him their man of the match.
“We know a lot of good players as we’ve been playing Thurlow Nunn level for nearly 10 years now, but we are happy with the squad.
“You can expect to see one maybe two signings before Christmas but that should conclude our business for this season.”
Schofield, who had a spell at Long Melford in 2017/18 before signing for Cornard, thanked chairman Harvey Doherty for the faith he has shown in them both, with Groves and himself having impressed since taking over the reins of the under-18s side over the summer.
With talented glovesman Dan Joyce back at the club before their appointment was announced, Groves was in the dugout on Saturday barking out the orders while Schofield resumed his playing role.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to know Matt my whole life and even from such a young age we’ve always said we’d get into management together and now it has happened,” said Schofield.
“It’s a shame how it has come about for Liam, because he genuinely is a really good guy and coach but for one reason or another it wasn’t clicking for him.
“I’ve absolutely no doubt he’ll have another job very soon and I wish him all the best.”
Asked where the pair can aim to take the club this season, he said: “Teams are still sussing each other out, so it is hard to gauge but I’m a very ambitious guy, and we will look to finish as high as possible. Currently it’s all about steadying the ship and building from there, though.
“Me and Matt trust our own ability. I think people will be surprised at how well we do with Cornard.
“We know there’s such a long way to go but Saturday was the perfect start and the buzz we were able to create in training just carried through to Saturday. We could have been four or 5-0 up at half-time.
“Hopefully we can back the win up away at Felixstowe.”
Cornard travel to face a Felixstowe & Walton United Reserves outfit on Saturday (3pm) who have lost six from six, including last Saturday’s 6-0 home loss to AFC Sudbury Reserves.