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Manager tips former Colchester United academy player to 'raise the bar' at Haverhill Rovers

Fergus O’Callaghan believes the addition of new signing Kieran Michaels is evidence of how he is ‘raising the bar’ at Haverhill Rovers.

The teenage right-sided full-back is something of a transfer coup for the Reds having just been released from Colchester United’s academy.

Despite only being dual-registered at Rovers’ divisional rivals Long Melford from mid-November, he made a big impression in his 24 Thurlow Nunn League games, winning the club’s Supporters’ Player of The Season award.

Haverhill Rovers' new signing Kieran MichaelsPicture: Haverhill Rovers FC (12589798)
Haverhill Rovers' new signing Kieran MichaelsPicture: Haverhill Rovers FC (12589798)

“I am really happy with Kieran coming on board,” manager O’Callaghan said of his fifth signing, despite only joining the club himself on May 30.

“He has lots of experience, having played 20-odd games last season, and Jamie Bradbury (Long Melford manager) could not say enough good things about him.

“I am trying to bring a bit of quality in to the club to develop. We are trying to raise the bar with the players.”

Of the player his assistant James Bloomfield was instrumental in convincing to speak to them, he said: “He has got potential and I would describe him as a bit of a silent leader.”

He is not guaranteed a place in his favoured position though with Players’ Player of The Year Alfie Carroll and Young Player of The Year Ryan Yallop both right-backs. But far from feeling he has too much quality in one area, it is exactly what O’Callaghan is looking to replicate throughout the squad.

“Alfie Carroll did really well in that position last year and it will be nice to have a bit of competition in that area. That is my main goal.

“I would like to get Haverhill back on the map and in the top 10 area. Having players fighting for positions adds that extra edge in training and can only benefit the club.”

FOOTBALL - Thetford Town v Long Melford..Pictured: Kieran Michaels (L)...PICTURE: Mecha Morton.... (9254450)
FOOTBALL - Thetford Town v Long Melford..Pictured: Kieran Michaels (L)...PICTURE: Mecha Morton.... (9254450)

Michaels, who is looking to go over to America on a university scholarship in a year’s time, also brings coaching benefits, having just completed his UEFA B licence.

And he is said to be agreeable to having a role with coaching youngsters within the club, as long as it can fit in with his commitments working within Colchester United’s community programme.

O’Callaghan also revealed he is close to bringing in another goalkeeper to fight for the number one jersey with George Bugg and James Young.

He got his squad together for the first time a week ago with pre-season training properly beginning tonight with a few trialists expected.

* Rovers’ first pre-season friendly is due to be on The New Croft’s 3G pitch against Hertford Town on July 6 (1.30pm), but the club have had to change their opposition for their third of five games. Cambridge University Press now have a cup commitment so Rovers have moved to get Ipswich Wanderers to fulfil the 3G New Croft fixture on Friday, July 26 (8pm).

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