Manager responds to defensive issues

SAVING THE DAY: Manager Anthony Choat has brought in five new players in response to the team's defensive issues
SAVING THE DAY: Manager Anthony Choat has brought in five new players in response to the team's defensive issues
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Haverhill Borough have brought in a brand new goalkeeping pair to further boost their defensive line, in response to their frailties in the league.

The Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side have shipped 63 goals so far this season, at an average of 2.9 goals conceded per game, to approach the new year with the second-worst goals-against record in the league.

Only basement side Wivenhoe Town have conceded more.

It prompted a response from manager Anthony Choat, who has brought in new first-team goalkeeper Will Cook from Step 6’s Potton United, as well as promoting youth talent Ed Greenhall from the reserves as back up.

They join returning players Casey Phillips and Cameron Watson in the defensive line, as well as Ryan Phillips in midfield to provide a ‘strengthened’ set-up.

Choat said he had hoped the situation would resolve itself on its own, hoping his defenders would ‘stop making individual errors’, but felt the time had come to step in.

He said: “Cody and I just decided that, going forward, this would be a better pair.

“Ed has been with us for a while, playing for the reserves at times, and he has really impressed.

“The decision was made that he needs to play first-team football to develop, I think he could be brilliant one day. And Will is a proven shot-stopper with experience.

“I spoke to Graham (Smith) and it wasn’t an easy decision to replace him, but we decided Ed has a lot of potential and that needs to be the focus. It’s what’s best for the club.

“We had to respond to the problem we have at the back, things weren’t getting better.

“As I’ve said before, we’re not struggling to score goals which is the hardest thing to do in football, so it’s just about stopping them going in at the other end. I think the team we have now are more than capable of this.”

After a two-week hiatus in fixtures, Borough return to league action this weekend in the first of three home games in six days over the Christmas period.

The side, who currently lie 21st in the league (of 24), first host Long Melford on Saturday (3pm), before welcoming second-placed Coggeshall Town on Boxing Day (11am).

Choat said he is ‘really excited’ to see the team back in action, following an impressive 4-1 victory over Walsham-le-Willows in their last outing on Saturday, December 9.

Choat had the use of new defensive pair Phillips and Watson and believes the new ‘keeper can only add to the overall quality of the squad.

He said: “I would have fancied us against anyone last weekend with the way we are playing. It’s disappointing we’ve had to wait to play again — you have to strike while the iron’s hot after all.

“But since we beat Walsham we’ve recruited a new ‘keeper and are now even stronger. The Long Melford game is a three-pointer I hope, and Coggeshall will be tough but we can also beat them with the form we have.

“We played and beat them last season and are starting to play like we did then.”