Haverhill Borough have been buoyed by the addition of some ‘quality’ players as they approach the start of their new campaign.
Last season the club finished eighth in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division and created two pieces of history by winning their first trophy, the First Division Knockout Cup and making it to the semi-final of the Suffolk Senior Cup.
The close season has seen them lose skipper Harry Halls, goalkeeper Charlie Turner, Jonny Milne and Ryan Geoghegan to Haverhill Rovers, but in recent weeks player-manager Martin Westcott has bolstered their ranks with some new and some not-so-new faces as well as retaining all of the remaining squad from last season.
Former West Wratting midfielder Jarid Robson, ex Braintree Town midfielder Jake Gilder and former Wratting and Haverhill Rovers goalie Tom Coombe have signed.
In addition, Errol Durrell, once described while playing at Long Melford as the ‘best defender in the First Division’ has returned to the ranks after having a break from football for a year.
Durrell signed for Borough in February 2013 and played ten games that season before playing a further 21 during 2014/15, and Westcott is delighted with his return and the general make up of the squad.
He said: “we have retained the bulk of our squad from last year. Obviously there has been some departures to Rovers which was to be expected given the exodus they had last year but I think we have managed to retain the core of the squad and add some really good quality players like Jarid and Errol.
“We are looking okay compared to where we were two or three weeks ago. Errol played for the first time in a year-and-a-half on Saturday against Saffron Walden (a 3-0 defeat) and he looked fine.
“He really enjoyed it and that was really good.”
The retention of players such as Cameron Watson, Matt Staines, Ryan Swallow, Craig Pruden, Rory Bone and Aaron Forshaw has also been a fillip to Westcott, who was effusive about the impact made so far by Robson, who is back in Haverhill after completing his university studies.
He said: “I think someone like Jarid will do very well in our team and he’s got a really good positive attitude that he’s brought with him.
“I’ve been very impressed with Jarid in pre-season and more importantly a lot of the team have been impressed with him as well.”
The continued involvement of experienced players like Scott Lodge, Gareth Thomas, Harry O’Connor, Danny Shipton and Graham Smith and the return from a broken ankle of full-back Tommy Hardwick have given further cause for optimism at Borough.
A higher league finish than last season and repeated success in the Suffolk Senior Cup and First Division Knockout Cup remain high on the priority list for Borough.
“We will be competitive in our league hopefully again this year and hopefully go better than eighth, which we finished in last year, which I was a bit disappointed with.
“Whatever happens, it’s going to be tough.”
Borough won 4-3 on Tuesday against last season’s Kershaw Premier runner-up Hardwick with goals from Westcott, Forshaw, Swallow and Kieran O’Neill and have further pre-season freindlies at Chatteris Town on Saturday and away to Mundford on July 30 before starting their league campaign away to Diss Town on August 6.
Borough’s new 3G pitch at the New Croft is not expected to be ready to play on until early September.