Aldis locks horns with former club

DEBENHAM Leisure Centre manager Mel Aldis locks horns with his former club tomorrow when Stowmarket Town visit Maitlands in the second qualifying round of the FA Vase.

Elvin King

DEBENHAM Leisure Centre manager Mel Aldis locks horns with his former club tomorrow when Stowmarket Town visit Maitlands in the second qualifying round of the FA Vase.

“I still have good friends at Stowmarket and this makes it a bit of a difficult game,” said Aldis. But when the whistle goes it is all about winning - and the form book will go out of the window.”

Both sides play in the First Division of the Ridgeons League and Aldis led Stowmarket to high positions in the Premier Division while manager at Greens Meadow.

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He is now in the process of moving his 'home town' club up the football ladder and they have consolidated their position in the Ridgeons League after promotion from the Metaltec SIL.

“Playing in a national competition like the FA Vase gives you a chance to play sides from other leagues, and to gain a higher profile,” added Aldis.

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“But the winners of tomorrow's match are away to either Ipswich Wanderers or Hadleigh in the next round. So we need two wins to take on some 'fresh' opposition.”

Debenham will be without former Stowmarket player Warren Taylor-Holt, who is suspended, while Kevin Barker is suffering from a knee problem. And another ex-Stowmarket man Ian Gedny is waiting for an abdominal operation, which is likely to happen at the end of October.

Gedny is Aldis' assistant manager and they know the value to the team of ace striker Stuart Jopling - also a former Stowmarket player. He has netted 11 goals in eight games this term with his goalscoring powers showing no signs of diminishing.

“To be honest, Stuart - with the number of chances he has had - could have scored 25 by now,” said Aldis. But if that was the case he would not be playing for us, but higher up the ladder. Our game is centred round him and getting the balls into the box for him to convert.”

Aldis was married on August 2 and while in Spain on his honeymoon his team lost both matches they played.

They have since moved up the table, and Aldis confirms that promotion to the Premier Division of the Ridgeons League is their main priority this term.

“If we are still in the hunt next March it will have been another good year,” said Aldis. “But there are eight or nine clubs who have more in their locker than we have and carry a much bigger clout. Having said that we definitely want to go up, and will be putting all our efforts into that.”

If recent Vase form is to be followed, Debenham will visit Wanderers in the next round.

This is because Hadleigh United - top of the Ridgeons League First Division - have not won a Vase match since October 2001. This was against Maldon at Millfield with a 2-1 scoreline - before Hadleigh were thrashed 7-1 by Arlesey in the following round.

The last six seasons have seen Hadleigh drop out of the competition at the first hurdle. Striker Dean Tourney-Godfrey misses out on playing against his former club because he is away.

In another derby, Whitton United travel to Felixstowe and Walton United while Woodbridge Town entertain Yaxley, who were beaten in the FA Cup by Needham Market in midweek.

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