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Dave Childs not looking to change too much at Cornard United though predecessors Michael Schofield and Matt Grove will not be about

Cornard United’s new manager Dave Childs is looking to build on the foundations put in place by Michael Schofield and Matt Grove – but he will have to do it without their influence.

Both player-managers stepped down from their dugout duties at the end of the season to concentrate on their on-pitch roles, having said they would like to stay on at the club if they featured in the new bosses’ plans.

However, former Braintree Town Reserves manager Childs, who played for Cornard during the 2007/08 campaign, was informed shortly after being appointed last Thursday that both were leaving to play closer to home. Grove, a goalkeeper, and Schofield, a midfielder or full-back, hail from Colchester.

Cornard United manager - Dave Childs (R) and assistant manager, Mick Southee (L)..Pic - Richard Marsham. (11598453)
Cornard United manager - Dave Childs (R) and assistant manager, Mick Southee (L)..Pic - Richard Marsham. (11598453)

Being a former goalkeeper himself though, Childs is confident of filling the number one jersey with a worthy replacement, while he has decided to start pre-season training early, on June 18, to look at a host of potential new recruits.

But he does not want to tear things up, having been impressed with the job Schofield and Grove did. The pair stabilised after the side’s early worrying form before achieving a mid-table finish in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North and reaching a Suffolk Senior Cup final at Portman Road, which they lost 4-3 to Achilles.

“I have played for the club before when I was 18 years old so I know what the club is about and it has a lot of potential to move forward,” said the 38-year-old who had started last season as First Division South Little Oakley’s assistant manager.

Cornard United manager - Dave Childs..Pic - Richard Marsham. (11598460)
Cornard United manager - Dave Childs..Pic - Richard Marsham. (11598460)

“What Michael and Matt did was fantastic.

“If players go we need to bring in other players of a similar level, but I do not want to bring in loads and disrupt everything.”

Of starting pre-season training early, two weeks ahead of some of their rivals’ announced dates, he said: “I just want to get to know everyone. We will have four training sessions then the first friendly.”

One of Childs’ first jobs has been to quickly sort out a pre-season schedule as well as naming his assistant in recently retired Wivenhoe Town player Micky Southlee.

His first chance to see the returning players and trialists in action will be when Halstead Town Reserves visit Blackhouse Lane on Tuesday, July 2 before hosting Halstead Town’s first team on July 9 and Brightlingsea Regent Reserves on Friday, July 25 (all 7.45pm). Away friendlies are yet to be confirmed.

As under his predecessors, a youth pathway will still be key for Childs, who says his team will be encouraged to play eye-catching football as well as working hard as a team unit.

Cornard chairman Harvey Doherty said: “Dave has a history of being a good reserve manager or first team assistant but feels it is high time that he tested himself as a first-team manager.”

After departing Little Oakley following manager Sean Tynan stepping down in late October, Childs finished the campaign in charge of divisional rivals Braintree Town Reserves, who ended the campaign in 15th after just one defeat (five draws) in their last nine matches.

l Meanwhile, Haverhill Rovers revealed on Monday they have signed Cornard’s highly-rated 17-year-old midfielder Max Dinnell.

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