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Performance levels cannot slip if Haverhill Rovers are to continue to push towards Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division safety, says Marc Abbott

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Marc Abbott knows Haverhill Rovers cannot afford to let performance levels slip if they are to continue creating more daylight between themselves and the relegation zone, writes Alex Moss.

The Rovers player-boss, in his second spell in charge at the New Croft, has picked up six points from four games, with a 1-1 draw at Swaffham Town at the weekend making it one win and three draws since his return last month.

And while Rovers’ position of 17th in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division may be identical to when he came back to the club six weeks ago, the gap to Hadleigh United, who occupy the sole potential relegation spot, has stretched from four to eight points.

Player boss Marc Abbott has one win and three draws since being re-appointed
Player boss Marc Abbott has one win and three draws since being re-appointed

“We’ve opened up a little gap over the last few weeks,” Abbott said.

“But that could quickly disappear with two or three wins by the other teams around us.

“It’s nice to have that gap now, but we know we can’t let our performances slip.

“If you do that then at this level you will get punished for it.

“You can’t be disrespectful to the teams beneath us. A couple of games can change it, so we need to keep putting in the performances every week.”

A congested Premier Division table sees the gap between Whitton United, in 10th place, and Rovers, in 17th, sit at just seven points, and Abbott sees his side’s upcoming run of three home games as a chance for the club’s supporters to help them start to move up the table.

“I’d like to give a mention to the support that the team has had,” he said.

“The players and management really appreciate it. Even away at Swaffham on Saturday we had good support from the committee and our loyal supporters.

“It would be great to see more people come and support us, as it does help. At home we get a good atmosphere and the players love it.

“We’ve now got a run of three home games, starting against Brantham on Saturday, all against three very different teams.

“Although it’s a nice environment at home, I do think coming to our place is tough for away teams. We’re more used to playing on the pitch.”

Rovers made the trip to Shoemakers Lane on Saturday, buoyed by their thrilling comeback 4-3 win at Walsham-le-Willows seven days earlier, which marked Abbott’s first victory since returning to the club.

Nick Castellan put Swaffham in front early in the first half, before substitute Max Dinnell earned the visitors a share of the points, coming off the bench to score his fourth goal of the season.

“We defended the slope in the first half, and it was tough and difficult,” Abbott said.

“They used it to their advantage really well in the first half, but we felt to come in at half time and to have only conceded one goal, that we had enough quality to come back in the second half.

“Six points from four games looks OK, but we’ve come away with something at Ely away, Walsham away and now Swaffham away, and took a point off of Stowmarket, who are the best side in the league.”

Rovers host Brantham Athletic on Saturday (3pm).

Haverhill Rovers Ladies will be hoping to resume their promotion push in the S-Tech Women’s Premiership this weekend.

Last Sunday’s scheduled trip to leaders Peterborough Northern Star Ladies Reserves was postponed, but Joe White’s side kept hold of third spot as fourth-placed ICA Sports Women’s fixture was also called off.

Rovers are set to host Cambridge City Ladies A (11th) this Sunday (2pm).

Jenna Wright was on target for Haverhill Rovers Development in their 2-1 Championship defeat at Deeping United Ladies on Sunday.