Michael Shinn has tipped the young players of Haverhill Rovers to help set the club’s targets higher over the next few years.
The Rovers player-manager believes that with the continued experience the younger members of his squad are getting on a week-by-week basis, the club can push towards higher goals in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division.
Rovers (11th) travel to struggling Walsham-le-Willows on Boxing Day (12pm), off the back of a handy 0-0 draw at in-form Stanway Rovers at the weekend.
Shinn’s 12-man squad at the Hawthorns featured four players from the club’s under-18s, which he highlighted as a key area to continue developing over the coming years.
“The first half was fairly even,” said the Rovers boss. “It was good to get something after losing quite heavily to them earlier in the season.”
Haverhill slumped to their biggest defeat of the season when Stanway visited the New Croft back in September, the 6-0 loss coming while Rovers chiefs were looking for a successor to Dean Greygoose in the manager’s hotseat.
Rovers visit Summer Road on Friday aiming to end the year on a high with three points, which would see them return to the top half of the table in ninth place, ahead of the Saturday fixtures.
“It will be a difficult game for us,” said Shinn. “They are where we were at a few months ago and will be trying to get points on the board.”
Rovers welcome back joint leading goalscorer Dalton O’Brien to the squad, while Dan Cornwell and Perry Moody are both major doubts.
Defender Ricky Spriggs has returned to former club Heybridge Swifts, with Shinn indicating that he will look to the club’s under-18s to bring players in.
“We’ve got a lot of good young players at the club,” said the Rovers player-manager. “When we’ve had injuries and suspensions they’ve come in and done a good job for us.
“Over the next 2-4 years these young players will get more experience and will allow us to set better goals.
“It’s a case of continuing to improve, keep working on what we are doing and see where that takes us.”
Shinn’s willingness to give youth a go has been clear to see, with players from the under-18s having made 47 first team appearances between them so far this season.
“We’re improving and will see where we end up at the end of the season, before reassessing in the summer.”