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Former Crawley Town youngster Ollie Emsden signs for Haverhill Rovers ahead of hosting Mulbarton Wanderers in the FA Cup



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Liam Aves has added an experienced midfielder to his Haverhill Rovers squad ahead of their Emirates FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round home tie with Mulbarton Wanderers on Saturday (3pm).

Former Crawley Town under-18s player Ollie Emsden was with their Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division rivals Long Melford last season but is in line to make his Haverhill debut this weekend.

The left-sided specialist, who can also operate in centrally, includes the likes of Histon, Heybridge Swifts and Maldon & Tiptree among his previous clubs. He has also experienced spells in Cyprus, with APEP, and Scotland, with Greenock Morton.

Ollie Emsden went up against Rovers at The New Croft with Long Melford last season Picture: Mecha Morton
Ollie Emsden went up against Rovers at The New Croft with Long Melford last season Picture: Mecha Morton

“He brings a bit of experience to the group which is needed really,” said Rovers boss Aves of what is his eighth summer signing.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how he beds in as he is another good strong player.”

Emsden joins off the back of central midfielder Kieran Hayden, the 22-year-old having come off the bench to make his debut in the 1-0 loss at his former club Woodbridge Town in Saturday’s league opener.

Haverhill Rovers manager Liam Aves (centre) saw plenty of positives from the dugout despite defeat in their season opener on Saturday Picture: Mark Westley
Haverhill Rovers manager Liam Aves (centre) saw plenty of positives from the dugout despite defeat in their season opener on Saturday Picture: Mark Westley

“He’s just come back from uni but was previously in Norwich City’s academy, he’s the brother of Matt Hayden,” said Aves.

“He is a big, tall strong lad who is a good ball player and he brings something different to the group.”

A 39th-minute goal from Remi Garrett, heading in the rebound from a saved Jerome Trotter effort, saw Rovers fall to defeat in former professional Luke Hyam’s first game in charge of Woodbridge.

But the number of chances his side created left Aves with plenty of encouragement.

He said: “We have changed the style and a number of personnel over the summer and you could see quite a lot of what we have been working on during the game which was good.

“We just need to take our chances but there were a lot of positives to take and Woodbridge is always a tough place to go.”

The attention turns this weekend to a Mulbarton Wanderers side who are due to have their league opener at Sheringham tonight, having finished an impressive fourth last season after promotion to Haverhill’s division.

“It will be tough the same way it was last season when we had them down (1-0 win, March 3),” said Aves.

“Hopefully, like last time, we can get ourselves well organised and get ourselves a victory.

“The FA cup is obviously a massive game for the club and to have it as our first home game of the season is quite special. Hopefully we can get a good crowd down. I can’t wait.”

Replays have been reinstated up to the fourth round proper this season while winning in the extra preliminary round is worth £1,125 in prize money.