Former Ipswich Athletic boss Luke Hillyard couldn’t turn down Achilles challenge

Luke Hillyard

Luke Hillyard - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

New Achilles boss Luke Hillyard admitted the opportunity to manage the A’s was too good to turn down, following his heroics with Ipswich Athletic.

Hillyard guided Athletic to a treble success last season, winning the SIL Division One title, the Bob Coleman Cup and Suffolk Junior Cup.

“I played for Achilles for a number of years, my brother (Liam) did and so did my dad, Jeff, so with the family links it was too good an opportunity to turn down,” said Hillyard.

Achilles finished second to runaway champions Cranes but are hoping to go one better this term, with Hillyard having brought in a number of players from his former club.

“The year before Achilles won the title but Cranes ran away with it a little last season,” he added.


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“My main aim is to get the title back from Cranes but there are some good teams in the Senior Division, Grundisburgh and a couple of other teams have made some good signings, so hopefully there will be a few teams in the running this season.

From the Athletic team that had so much success last season, Hillyard has signed his brother, Liam, as well as Jordan Crane, Sean Hanley, Josh Little and Gavin and Darry van Oene.

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“Those lads showed what they can do last season and a lot can play higher but, due to family commitments, have decided not to,” explained Hillyard.

“I think we have got a good mix of experience and younger players. Achilles have always had an experienced team, so it’s like the new-look team.”

Achilles started their season with a 4-2 defeat at Haughley, and, in a twist of fate, host Ipswich Athletic in their first home game tomorrow. They then entertain their main rivals last season, Framlingham Town, next Saturday.

The game against Athletic no doubt stands out for Hillyard who has nothing but good memories of his time with the club.

“It was a brilliant season, it was my first year in management, as I am only 29,” he explained.

“I had a shoulder injury and then the Ipswich job came up and the first season was unbelievable.

“I would like to make the step up (the football pyramid) in management, but I am still learning my trade.”

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