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Haverhill Rovers benefit from having near full strength squad available during win over FC Clacton

Player-manager Marc Abbott believes Saturday’s 3-1 win over FC Clacton is proof of what his Haverhill Rovers side are capable of when the majority of the squad are available.

Aside from defender Reiss Oteng and goalkeeper James Philp, Abbott had the rare luxury this term of being spoilt for choice when it came to selecting his starting line-up.

And it seemingly had a big impact on proceedings on the 3G pitch at The New Croft, where goals from Ben Bradley, Callum Anderson and Ryan Weaver secured Rovers just a second Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division victory of the season.

Callum Anderson celebrates Haverhill Rovers' second goal in the victory over FC Clacton. Picture: Neil Dady
Callum Anderson celebrates Haverhill Rovers' second goal in the victory over FC Clacton. Picture: Neil Dady

“Apart from Reiss and James we had a full squad and that is something we’ve not had for a long time,” said Abbott, who saw his side end the contest with 10 men following the dismissal of Jonny Butler.

“There has never been any panic (about this season’s form). We understand what we’ve got – we’ve got some good players on loan and some good players signed on.

“There is a good balance of youth and experience and if we can keep putting that squad out most weeks we will continue to pick up some points.

Haverhill Rovers player-manager Marc Abbott
Haverhill Rovers player-manager Marc Abbott

“It was good to have put on a performance and punish a team. We’ve had chance to punish teams a few times this season and not taken them.

“We looked strong, bright and the players were all playing with smiles on their faces.

“It was good to see and the only disappointment is we probably don’t have another game to build on it until early January.”

With a number of options at his disposal, Abbott was able to manage from the sidelines instead of turning out in midfield.

It is something he had planned to do more of this term, but the injury situation has led to him making 11 appearances.

“In pre-season I’d plan to dip in and out a bit but that hasn’t materialised because we’ve gone into games with five, six, seven or even sometimes eight injuries,” he added.

“I’d like to be able to mix and rotate a bit. I still feel there is a place for me to play, but I also enjoying coaching and leading the team from the side.

“I’ll keep myself ticking over and be ready for when it’s right for me to play.”

Abbott was also impressed with the performance of local lad Finley Iron between the posts.

The former Cambridge United player signed for Rovers on a short-term deal from higher-league Yaxley to cover the absence of Philp.

“Our under-18s keep Charlie Bell played against Wellingborough and did really well, but we just felt we needed a little bit more experience” said Abbott.

“Full credit to Fin, I’ve known him for a while and he showed why he is such a good goalkeeper.”

Rovers have arranged a friendly at higher-league Bury Town on Saturday (3pm), with their return to league action for January 2 at Mildenhall Town.

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