Liam Aves delighted with progress that has been made at Haverhill Rovers since taking over as manager
Haverhill Rovers manager Liam Aves had been confident his side could deliver their fans six points from their two festive period fixtures to significantly boost their survival chances.
But Tuesday’s announcement by the Thurlow Nunn League to call off the first round of matches, scheduled for Monday, following consulting with clubs over the surge of Covid-19 cases, means their trip to Newmarket Town has been postponed.
The league management committee’s statement also revealed the following Monday’s fixtures, on January 3, are also under threat, even without any government restrictions being imposed. Rovers are due to host Thetford Town with Haverhill Borough at Newbury Forest (both 3pm).
But while the wider uncertainty about when their Premier Division campaign will resume – with the last two seasons having never restarted – does worry him, Aves is pleased with where he feels the side are now at.
The former AFC Sudbury coach and Cornard United manager inherited a team on October 25 second from bottom, four points from safety with just nine points from 14 matches.
Despite losing a tight game 2-1 at home to March Town United on Saturday, they head into the enforced break two places higher, one point above the drop zone with a further 10 points. But they have played four more games than second-bottom Whitton United.
“I am very happy,” said Aves. “To be honest, when you come in and take over a job half way through a season you think am I going to be able to get the players and quality we need into the building? Is the quality in place in the building already? Is there support around the first team that could also possess quality to help us?
“Everything that I have found so far has all ticked the boxes.
“Obviously we are up against it but that’s the job I took on and that is the experience I wanted to have.”
Of the decision to postpone the upcoming round of matches, which the Thurlow Nunn League said was supported by ‘almost two thirds’ of clubs, he said: “None of us do this for a full-time career and at this moment in time, for the sake of one game of football, for the sake of everyone’s health over Christmas it just makes sense, although I am disappointed as we were looking forward to it.”
He added: “It is a worry for us a bit as if it goes to points-per-game as we would be set to go down in the bottom two but hopefully it won’t come to that.”
Saturday’s game at The New Croft had seen the return of Alfie Carroll since suffering concussion in the Hadleigh game before Aves officially took charge.
“It was great to have him back,” said the Rovers chief, whose low numbers had seen him bring in former Colchester United scholar Josh Fouche for a debut.
Of the latter, he said: “I’ve watched him for a long time with my scouting business for Colchester. He is back from university so he filled in for us and did really well at centre-back.”
The game, which saw Jake Williams’ 41st minute header look to have earned a point before Ben Matthews’ 82nd minute strike, also saw a senior debut for young striker Callum Stone.
Aves said: “He has got pace in bundles and is a great kid. He is another local lad but is there because he has got clear quality.”