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Luke McAvoy keeping strong starters Ely City grounded ahead of Thurlow Nunn League restarting




Joint boss Luke McAvoy has insisted nobody at Ely City will be getting carried away with their fine start to the season.

The 1-0 victory at Newmarket Town just before lockdown moved the Robins up to fourth in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division.

McAvoy, who shares the managerial duties alongside Ben Farmer, has seen his side lose just once in their 10 outings, while they also have the joint best defensive record in the division.

Luke McAvoy is pleased with how Ely have started the 2020/21 campaignPicture: Mark Westley
Luke McAvoy is pleased with how Ely have started the 2020/21 campaignPicture: Mark Westley

And while he is understandably pleased with how things have unfolded to this point, McAvoy is keen to keep feet firmly on the ground.

“Realistically we probably didn’t expect to start as well as we have done,” he said.

“We’ve made ourselves hard to beat and the defence is strong – there is no real secret.

Ely City's players, including Jordan Foster, are set to return to action on December 8 at Swaffham Town looking to continue a strong start to the seasonPicture: Mark Westley
Ely City's players, including Jordan Foster, are set to return to action on December 8 at Swaffham Town looking to continue a strong start to the seasonPicture: Mark Westley

“If you’re hard to break down and work hard then it gives you half a chance.

“But we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. The aim at the start of the season was to get more points than we got before football stopped earlier this year, and that remains the case.

“We’re not stupid, we know there is a long way to go. We will be keeping feet on the ground and just keep doing what we are doing.”

For McAvoy and Farmer, they are fast approaching a year in charge at the Demcom Stadium, having taken over from the long-serving Brady Stone last December.

The Demcom Stadium is not set to host another first team game until December 28 when Newmarket Town are due to visit, with Ely's restart game at Swaffham Town on December 8 followed by two more away gamesPicture: Mark Westley
The Demcom Stadium is not set to host another first team game until December 28 when Newmarket Town are due to visit, with Ely's restart game at Swaffham Town on December 8 followed by two more away gamesPicture: Mark Westley

It meant the former Cambridge University Press pair had a good look at the squad and the level before the country shut down in March – and McAvoy feels that has been a key factor.

“It was an eye opener because the team was struggling,” he added.

“We used that time to suss out how we wanted to play and the players we wanted.

“Everyone knows we don’t have the biggest budget, so we have got players in that are looking to prove a point. Some of them haven’t been given a chance elsewhere, and others are stepping up for the first time.

“What we have now is a group of 14 or 15 lads that work very hard for each other.

“We ask a lot of them in training. Ben does a lot of good work on shape and how we play without the ball. To be fair to players, they take it all on board.”

Farmer also confirmed that if football is given the green light to resume at the beginning of next month, Ely would look to use Saturday, December 5 as a training day.

The Thurlow Nunn League have told clubs they can either play a league match that day or use it for preparation.

“We’ll look to train on that – or maybe a friendly – and then start with Swaffham on the following Tuesday,” he said.

“The lads are doing a lot in lockdown. They have some challenges to do and I’m sure they’ll come back fit.

“But we still need to make sure everyone is alright because there are going to be a lot of games. We don’t want anyone to be under-prepared because that is when injuries happen.”

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