Haverhill Rovers manager Liam Aves starting to see his imprint on the team following win over Thetford Town
With his brother Callum now settled in as his assistant and their league position looking more healthy, Haverhill Rovers boss Liam Aves believes supporters are now starting to see his imprint emerging on the team.
When the former AFC Sudbury coach and Cornard United manager arrived on October 25 he admitted it was very much about trying to quickly improve their survival chances.
Rovers had been second bottom and four points from safety in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division following on from player-boss Marc Abbott’s resignation.
But Monday’s 2-1 home victory over Thetford Town – only their second win at The New Croft in 13 games this term – has seen them rise up to 15th, four places and three points above the bottom two.
For much of the game against mid-table Thetford they were in full control and played with a fluency and confidence belying their league position. And having admitted to having to go back to basics upon his arrival, Aves is now enjoying the process of gradually shaping things to help identify as his team.
He said: “We’ve tried to take the pressure off the lads by not trying to play in the wrong areas, as such. We’ve tried to get the ball forward a bit quicker. But that said we are trying to adapt our style of play and make it more attacking by adding bits and pieces as we go and as we learn about the squad.”
Moving England Colleges FA-capped former AFC Sudbury frontman Freddie King, the current holder of the captain’s armband, back into a central midfield role is something he believes has helped improve their performances.
“As a youth player he has always been a central midfielder and it was only when he went to Sudbury that he started to play in that more advanced role,” said Aves.
“To be honest I think at times in the past Freddie has felt the pressure to score goals and I wanted to relieve it from him.
“We’ve got good goalscorers in the ranks and he has got that energy. He’s a leader so I thought let’s have a look at him in the centre of the park.
“Obviously we lost (skipper) Ben Bradley moving on and going to a higher league and Freddie is the sort of character that can fill that position. He’s got quality to play there and it allows us to be a bit more offensive.”
Assistant Callum added: "It's not just his quality, it's his energy as well. He's all action non-stop and with Ephraim (Romanos) in there as well screening a lot of the time both of them do some much dirty work that it just makes it so much easier for everyone else to play."
Reflecting on what was just a second home win of the campaign, across 11 league matches and two in cups, Liam said: “Relief is the right choice of word.
“Fair play to Thetford, we completely dominated the first half and looked like scoring more goals.
“I said to the boys at half-time 2-0 is that scoreline that means that it is never done.
“The third goal is always a big goal and they obviously pressed for it and we didn’t take chances with the ‘keeper making a couple of good saves that could have made it 3-0. But that’s football, isn’t it? We all know what it’s like.”
Meanwhile, influential forward Ryan Weavers is set to miss the rest of the season after his knee scan revealed a tear of his medial collateral ligament.
Callum Aves said: "He said there's a good chance he is done for the season which is a massive loss.
"He will still be here egging the boys on but that is a big loss for us."
But Aves is confident the squad can cope, saying: “Not to play it down at all, as he is a great character, but Jake Williams came up with another goal in his place and we’ve still got Jake Banyard to come back as well so we’ve got plenty of options and hopefully we can keep on kicking on.”
Rovers will be looking to widen the gap to the bottom two when they head to eighth-placed March Town United on Saturday (3pm), a side they narrowly lost 2-1 to via a late goal at The New Croft two games ago.