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Former Bromley FA Trophy winner Jack Cawley set to boost AFC Sudbury in relegation run-in

AFC Sudbury manager Marc Abbott believes bringing experienced defender Jack Cawley back to the club can ‘make a significant difference’ as they look to recover from a setback in their bid to avoid relegation.

The Yellows, who now have seven games to go, remain four points off safety in the Pitching In Southern League Premier Central table after losing 1-0 at home to Kettering Town on Saturday. It came off the back of a pair of home wins and saw the latter increase the gap between the two to seven points with a game in hand.

It was a match which saw former professional Cawley, who has experience across the top two tiers of non-league with the likes of Bromley – where he won the FA Trophy in 2021 – Concord Rangers, Wealdstone and Maidstone United, make his second debut for the Yellows.

Experienced centre-back Jack Cawley made his return to AFC Sudbury in Saturday's 1-0 home defeat to Kettering Town Picture: Steve Screech
Experienced centre-back Jack Cawley made his return to AFC Sudbury in Saturday's 1-0 home defeat to Kettering Town Picture: Steve Screech

The now 31-year-old centre-back, who also had spells in Suffolk with Bury Town, Hadleigh United and Leiston, previously made 33 appearances for AFC in the 2013/14 campaign.

And following his return from playing with top tier New Zealand league side Wellington Olympic AFC and briefly at Perth SC in Australia, Abbott is delighted to have got him to agree to end the campaign in familiar surroundings at The MEL Group Stadium.

He said of the former Leyton Orient youngster: "We made contact with Jack and I think there were a number of clubs interested in him.

"We're obviously delighted to have Jack with us, I think he's going to make a significant difference.

"On Saturday you could see his leadership qualities and his experience and knowledge and that's a big factor on why we've brought him in. He is going to support a very young squad and try and get the best out of them.

"He's been training with us for a few weeks now and we've been waiting for some administration documents to come through, they came through Thursday so we were really, really excited to have him Saturday.

"We've seen already he's going to be a very good asset and addition for the next seven games."

Cawley left Maidstone United, who were relegated from the Vanarama National League, last summer to head out to New Zealand before joining second-tier Perth in January before recently returning to the UK.

"He's been at the club from a young age and obviously coming back from Australia and New Zealand he wanted to be a little more local,” said Abbott.

“I think he had some good offers and some higher-league clubs after him but I think he wanted to finish the season locally in line with family logistics.

"He's been great so far for us, he's raised levels across the group, especially in training where we've seen a lot of him.

"We see snippets of him Saturday and we were pleased with his performance. I think he's only going to get better.

"In the games we've got coming up I think he's going to be a huge asset for us over the next seven games."

Abbott’s side begin their final seven matches at 15th-placed Stourbridge on Saturday (3pm).