Manager: ‘Haverhill Rovers squad as strong as it has been’

FAMILIAR FACE: Will Gardner (right) has returned to Haverhill Rovers on a six-week loan deal from Soham Town Rangers
FAMILIAR FACE: Will Gardner (right) has returned to Haverhill Rovers on a six-week loan deal from Soham Town Rangers
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Ben Cowling believes the two new additions at Haverhill Rovers have made the squad ‘as strong as its been since the start of the season’.

The Haverhill boss boosted his side last week with the signings of Ryan Weaver and Will Gardner, two former Rovers players, with both featuring in the 2-0 defeat away at relegation-threatened FC Clacton on Bank Holiday Monday.

The defeat at Rush Green Bowl left Rovers 13th in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division table, and stretched their winless run to six games in all competitions.

But ahead of hosting Thetford Town (8th) at The New Croft this Saturday (3pm), manager Cowling is hopeful better results will follow for his improved squad.

“Ryan and Will coming in has made the squad as strong as its been since the start of the season,” he said.

“It breeds competition for places and through that competitiveness in the squad hopefully the results will start to follow.

“In terms of creating chances, aside from the Clacton game, we have been doing it.

“We do have to tighten up at the back though. We haven’t kept enough clean sheets.

“It’s got to be a team effort, from the forwards to the defence. It needs to be a collective effort.”

Following Boxing Day’s 2-1 home defeat to Saffron Walden Town, Rovers announced that tricky winger Weaver had returned to the club.

Weaver topped the scoring charts for Haverhill last season, despite being shown the exit door in February after he was banned for six months from The New Croft for breaches of discipline.

After starting the current campaign at Rovers, Weaver linked up with former Haverhill player-manager Michael Shinn at West Wratting in October.

But after making just six appearances for the Kershaw Premier League side, Weaver got in contact with Cowling about a possible return to his former club.

“Ryan text me just before Christmas asking if he could come back,” Cowling explained.

“I understand why he left. I didn’t want him to go. From what he’s told me he was growing frustrated with the standard of football (in the Kershaw Premier).”

Weaver revealed his quick return was down to his fondness for Rovers, the club he joined from rivals Haverhill Borough in June of 2015.

“I went to Wratting and I missed playing with everyone at Rovers,” he said.

“I’ve come back and it’s like nothing has changed since I left.”

Young defender Gardner was the second player to return to Rovers last week, joining on a six-week loan deal from Soham Town Rangers on Friday.

First-choice goalkeeper Charlie Turner will return in between the sticks for Rovers this weekend after serving his suspension, while Harry Halls is expected to be rested again.