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New manager Liam Aves confident he can get Haverhill Rovers quickly climbing up the table



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Despite watching his new side fall to a resounding 3-0 home defeat to an out-of-form Hadleigh United yesterday, new Haverhill Rovers manager Liam Aves believes it will not take much to quickly improve a worrying league position.

The former Coggeshall Town and AFC Sudbury coach was selected as the successor to player-boss Marc Abbott from a number of interviewed candidates.

Having previously managed Cornard United, AFC Sudbury Reserves and Halstead Town Reserves, he inherits a side who lie second from bottom of the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division with just nine points from their 14 matches.

Haverhill Rovers' incoming manager Liam Aves Picture: Mark Westley
Haverhill Rovers' incoming manager Liam Aves Picture: Mark Westley

But the UEFA B license holder, who will take charge of his first game on Wednesday when Rovers host Ely City (7.45pm), believes he can quickly get them moving up the table away from the bottom two relegation zone.

"Firstly, I am delighted to get the job, it is a massive opportunity for myself," he told SuffolkNews after being introduced to the players in the changing room after yesterday's defeat.

"I was blown away by the club. When you come here you see the facilities and get told there is 50-odd teams within the club and it just seems a really attractive opportunity for myself.

Haverhill Rovers' new manager Liam Aves was taking notes from the stand for the match against Hadleigh United Picture: Mark Westley
Haverhill Rovers' new manager Liam Aves was taking notes from the stand for the match against Hadleigh United Picture: Mark Westley

"Obviously I have done a lot of coaching at Step 4 in recent years and supported some really great managers in Mark Morsley and recently at Coggeshall with John Pollard. And I wanted to take on the challenge myself.

"Without a doubt there is a lot of potential here. The club for me needed to be right and I think at this moment in time, after watching them play against Wroxham (as well as Hadleigh), personally I think if we can get all the players confident and firing it will take no time at all for us to start shifting up the league."

And he certainly has past form with helping struggling clubs to turn things around.

"I have been in this position before and I've taken over clubs before at this stage before," he said.

Liam Aves (centre) was part of the AFC Sudbury management team alongside manager Mark Morsley (left) and head coach Tony Kinsella (right) that helped turned the Yellows' league position around in the Covid-abandoned 2019/20 Picture: Steve Screech
Liam Aves (centre) was part of the AFC Sudbury management team alongside manager Mark Morsley (left) and head coach Tony Kinsella (right) that helped turned the Yellows' league position around in the Covid-abandoned 2019/20 Picture: Steve Screech

"Starting with Cornard back in the day (2017) I think we were near enough bottom with less points and we still quite comfortably survived.

"At Sudbury with Mark (Morsley) and Tony, TK (Tony Kinsella) (2020), I think we were near the bottom of the table and eight games later we were up finishing the season (after abandoned due to Covid) in second place.

"It can be done, it just takes a little bit of time."

Liam Aves (left) took over at struggling Thurlow Nunn League First Division side Cornard United alongside co-manager Ryan Lines in September 2017 Picture: Mark Bullimore
Liam Aves (left) took over at struggling Thurlow Nunn League First Division side Cornard United alongside co-manager Ryan Lines in September 2017 Picture: Mark Bullimore

Athough he was only in a watching brief from the stands yesterday, he had already got stuck into recruitment, helping bring in four new players, all of whom he had worked with at AFC Sudbury.

Young forwards Josh Ambrose and Jake Banyard made their debuts alongside versatile players Conor Scurlock and Josh Hughes. While the others have signed permanently from AFC Sudbury and Stowmarket Town (Scurlock), Banyard has joined on a dual registration deal from Aves' most recent employers, home town side Coggeshall Town.

"Obviously we had three suspensions for the game today and the lads that have been brought in have been on the bench as bit-part for teams at a higher level, so today it is more a case, as you see at the end there, getting their fitness and match sharpness in.

"Confidence (dropping) when you are not playing regularly can creep in but I fully expect that to turn around as I know they are quality players.

"When I came down and watched the Wroxham game I was really happy defensively with the back four on the day. But on that day I identified we maybe need to bring a couple of attackers in.

"I know Josh and Jake really well from my time at Sudbury, they are good characters who are just really looking for an opportunity to play regular football and score some goals."

Of Scurlock he said: "Conor played for us in the reserves at Sudbury when I managed pre-lockdown, two seasons ago.

"He was one of the more experienced heads alongside the younger first-year players at Sudbury. I really liked him and he did really well.

"He obviously went off to Stowmarket and again, he is another lad with games, with fitness, with confidence I think he will bring a lot to the table."

Of Hughes, he said: "Josh was another Sudbury lad who went off and played in an academy higher up, I think it was Aldershot he was playing at. He has recently finished that after having a trial with a couple of clubs and again, similar to the other three, wants to get back playing regular football and have a platform to show what he is about.

"Obviously being left-footed Josh can naturally play as a left-back as well and he gives you options. Similar to Jake he can play as a wideman or through the middle.

"Conor Scurlock, again, can play centre mid or centre back so they will give us options going forward in different areas."

Although he is not looking to continue to flood the team with new signings, he did not rule out bringing more in.

"You never know with non-league football," he said.

"For me, from what I have seen of the Wroxham game, Marc's last game, I was very impressed with our back-line. And you can see by the results Haverhill have had they've lost by the odd goal here and there.

"Today is obviously a bit of a different story but I think it may just be a case of helping out the attackers, maybe a slight tweak in formation to make us a little bit more attacking and to minimalise the risk at the back and then really push on from there."

Aves, who said he is not rushing bringing in other staff, added he ultimately wants to play attractive football to get the crowds back at The New Croft but is prepared to do what it takes initially to get points on the board.

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