Haverhill Rovers to give more youngsters a chance in run-in

Haverhill Rovers v Thetford Town - Will Gardner sends a ball forwards.'Pic - Richard Marsham ANL-150703-203514009
Haverhill Rovers v Thetford Town - Will Gardner sends a ball forwards.'Pic - Richard Marsham ANL-150703-203514009
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With any risk of relegation now gone, Haverhill Rovers manager Michael Shinn wants to give more game time to some of his younger players.

A number of Rovers’ under-18s team have been blooded during the current campaign, with full-back Will Gardner and forward/central defender Ty Alleyne having become regulars in recent months, clocking up 20 and 28 appearances respectively.

But with just Saturday’s home match against already-relegated Diss Town (3pm) and the trip to Gorleston on May 2 left to come in Rovers’ Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division season, others will get their chance.

Shinn, whose side confirmed their stay in the Premier Division with a 1-1 draw at Mildenhall Town on Saturday, said: “We’ve had a lot of them in already this season but it’s nice for them to be involved in a game with nothing resting on it.

“Even if we changed the team for four senior players it would effect the performance of the team, so I’m not going to throw them all in in one game, but there will be time in the next two games where one or two will get some time on the pitch or one or two will get a start.

“We have to find a balance.”

Victories over both Diss and Gorleston could see Rovers finish as high as 12th, an outcome that would be very pleasing for Shinn, given the context of the season.

He said: “It would be nice to finish in 12th position with what we’ve achieved this year on limited resources as opposed to other teams that are in-and-around us.

“I think that would be a very good season.”

That Rovers have managed with a relatively small squad this season, added Shinn, is largely thanks to the fitness sessions run by first-team coach, Dan Pilcher.

Rovers will be without the injured Martyn Farrant and Gardner on Saturday, while Marcus Hunt’s back problem puts his involvement in jeopardy.

n Former Haverhill schoolboy Josh Meekings is due to hear today (Thursday) whether he will be free to play for Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the Scottish Cup final against Falkirk.

The 22-year-old was in the Inverness team that defeated Celtic 3-2 in the semi-final on Sunday but he has been retrospectively banned for one cup match by the Scottish FA for preventing a goalscoring opportunity by allegedly ‘deliberately’ handling the ball.

Inverness challenged the ban — described by former Premier League referee Mark Halsey as ‘unfair’ — and the appeal hearing is set for today.