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Re-signing of Luke Haines will help keep a 'Haverhill core' at Haverhill Rovers says new boss Fergus O'Callaghan

Fergus O’Callaghan says the re-signing of midfielder Luke Haines will help keep a ‘Haverhill core’ in his Haverhill Rovers squad, writes Alex Moss.

Midfielder Luke Haines has made more than 140 appearances for Haverhill Rovers	Picture: Richard Marsham
Midfielder Luke Haines has made more than 140 appearances for Haverhill Rovers Picture: Richard Marsham

The newly-appointed boss, who took over at the New Croft in May, has been busy assembling his side for the upcoming campaign, with seven new players coming in.

And at the weekend, the club announced Haines, a player with more than 140 appearances and 20 goals for Rovers, had put pen to paper to stay for the 2019-20 season.

“It’s great to have Luke on board for next season,” O’Callaghan said.

“Luke had been training elsewhere and was keeping his options open.

“He wanted to see what players we were bringing in for next season, and once he saw the calibre of players we were signing he agreed to sign.

“He had a very good performance in the friendly against Hertford and he’s a local boy as well, which is what we want to keep at the club. We want to keep that Haverhill core in the team.

“He shows that passion and it’s great that he’s re-signed as it shows the boys in the under-16s and the under-18s this is what you can do.”

Rovers continued their pre-season preparations with a 5-0 win against UEA on Wednesday last week, followed by a 1-1 draw with Saffron Walden Town on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Suffolk FA have announced that the Suffolk Premier Cup is to remain as a knockout competition for the 2019/20 season.

A change in the format of the county’s leading cup competition was touted back in May, with Suffolk FA contacting competing clubs to see if there was sufficient support for a Champions’ League-style competition in the forthcoming season.

Of the 17 clubs due to participate in the Premier Cup this season, nine clubs were in favour of changing the format to a Champions’ League style competition with group stages.

However, the slim majority was not deemed as a strong enough mandate to enact this proposal.

“I quite like the way it is, as you always get that knockout feeling. It gives it a bit of edge. It helps the underdogs as well with it being a one-off tie, upsets can happen,” O’Callaghan said.

O’Callaghan will begin his reign in charge of Haverhill Rovers with a trip to Godmanchester Rovers, after the first month of fixtures for the 2019/20 Thurlow Nunn League season were announced this week.

Rovers are one of two sides who are not in action on the opening weekend of the upcoming Premier Division campaign.

Instead, the New Croft-based outfit will get their season under way with a trip to Godmanchester on Tuesday, August 6.

O’Callaghan’s first home league game then follows seven days later, when Rovers entertain Thetford Town on August 13.

l Guy Habbin’s Haverhill Borough host Whitton United this Saturday (3pm) and Sporting 87 on Wednesday (7.45pm).

The new Borough manager has been handed a home start, as they begin their new First Division North campaign against Norwich CBS on Saturday, August 3.

It will be a home double-header for Habbin’s men to kick-off the campaign, as they host AFC Sudbury Reserves on August 6.

l Linton Granta shared eight goals with Long Melford in a 4-4 draw in a pre-season friendly. Jonny Sanders (two), Lewis Russell and Simon Greathead were on target.

l Rikki Baker scored the winner for West Wratting as they edged past Ely City 1-0 on Saturday.

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