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Lakenheath forward Shaun Avis enjoying being back at the club after Bury Town spell

When Bury Town came calling for Shaun Avis in late September it was an opportunity that he felt he needed to grasp.

The forward had just scored his 100th goal for Lakenheath and at the age of 30, Avis wanted to test himself at a higher level.

But having struggled to break into the Pitching In Isthmian League North Division side’s starting line-up on a regular basis, and without a goal, he returned to Lakenheath at the turn of the year – and it is like he has never been away.

Shaun Avis scored two goals on his return to Lakenheath. Picture: Mecha Morton
Shaun Avis scored two goals on his return to Lakenheath. Picture: Mecha Morton

On his reasons for accepting Bury’s approach, Avis explained: “I’d had quite a few seven-dayers come in but I was really happy at Lakenheath. I’d always said to Ben (Cowling, Lakenheath boss) that it would take a big club to come in for me to move on and that’s what ended up happening.

“Bury are one of the best run clubs in the area and I’m 31 in March. I’d just scored my 100th goal for Lakenheath and the Bury approach came.

“It wasn’t an instant decision, I thought about it a lot for 10 days or even two weeks. I spoke to family, took advice from others in the game and just decided I needed to give it a go.

The forward joined Bury Town in late September. Picture: Mecha Morton
The forward joined Bury Town in late September. Picture: Mecha Morton

“It was hard to leave, I was very settled at Lakenheath, but it was one of those where I needed to try to prove myself and I wondered if that opportunity would ever come around again.”

Avis started in five of the first six games following his arrival at Bury, but as time wore on he found himself becoming a regular on the bench.

And after he was an unused substitute in the festive derbies with AFC Sudbury and Lowestoft Town, the frontman decided to call it quits.

“I took so much from my time at Bury. It really opened my eyes,” he said.

“They’re run very professionally and Ben (Chenery, manager) and his coaching team are great.

“But I did find the style of play difficult. At the level I’ve played a lot, it’s about getting the ball from back to front quickly, but Bury like to keep the ball and starve the opposition of it.

“There’s nothing wrong with that and it works for them, but I know my strengths and that tends to be playing 4-3-3 with two lads either side of me that will get crosses in.

“I’d been on the bench a bit, played against Heybridge and felt I did well, but then I was on the bench in those games against Sudbury and Lowestoft.

“We needed a goal in those games and I didn’t get on so I just felt it was time to move on. I’m 30 years old and I need to be playing every week.

“But I’ve got nothing bad to say about Bury. It’s a great club with a great crowd and a good bunch of lads, it just didn’t work out.”

With a goal record like Avis’, his availability was always going to attract plenty of attention.

But as soon as he became aware that Lakenheath would be keen on a reunion he was only joining one club.

“I needed to go back to what I knew and somewhere I was sure I’d hit the ground running,” said Avis, who marked his return with both goals in a 2-1 win over Haverhill Rovers on January 7.

“It’s a great set-up at Lakenheath, I know the lads really well and so going back was a no-brainer.

“It would have been a risk going somewhere else. It might not have suited me and then you’d be looking for another move.

“It ended up being the ideal comeback at Haverhill. I started on the bench and rightly so, Ben said I needed to earn my place, but within 10 minutes of coming on I’d had two balls put on a plate and I scored twice. It was like I hadn’t really been away.”

After Lakenheath saw games at Fakenham Town and Walsham-le-Willows postponed because of frozen pitches, they will hope to return to Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division action on Saturday at Norwich United (3pm).

And that is followed on Tuesday by a rearranged League Challenge Cup tie at home against neighbouring Mildenhall Town (7.45pm).