Hadleigh looking to pull away even further at the top of the Thurlow Nunn Premier

Hadleigh's Scott Chaplin (blue) faces a late fitness test tomorrow

Hadleigh's Scott Chaplin (blue) faces a late fitness test tomorrow - Credit: Archant

With Thurlow Nunn Premier Division rivals Brightlingsea Regent in FA Vase action, Stuart Crawford knows his Hadleigh side have a further chance to pull even further clear at the top of the table tomorrow with a win over Diss Town.

The Brettsiders currently sit 16 points clear at the top of the table, with Crawford’s men continuing their scintillating form this season into the Christmas and New Year period.

Having as many points on the board as they do, Hadleigh look to be an unstoppable force this campaign and clear runaway leaders.

However, manager James Webster and all those involved at Essex-based Brightlingsea Regent, will have something to say about that.

Before a ball is kicked tomorrow, Regent have eight games in hand on Crawford’s men and if they are able to win all of these, would be just one point behind the Brettsiders.


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“If they can win all their games in hand then fair play to them,” said Crawford.

“It’ll be an extremely hard task for them to achieve that though.

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“They’ll have to play twice a week consistently and I’ll repeat that for them to keep that up and produce results will be an extremely hard task.”

Crawford’s men have a perfect opportunity to further their seemingly ever-increasing lead at the top of the division with a home game against Diss, whose last competitive fixture was that infamous 11-0 thumping to Walsham-le-Willows on Boxing Day.

“Saturday is a bit of an unpredictable one for us,” declared Crawford.

“Diss haven’t played for a good three weeks since that heavy defeat and it could go one of two ways for us.

“They might be rusty after not playing for so long or they might be really up for the game and desperate to make amends for what happened against Walsham so it’s a difficult one.

“I know Chris Tracey (the Diss manager) well and he’s the kind of guy who doesn’t take any nonsense.

“Even though we beat them 5-1 not so long ago, they went 1-0 up before we responded and he’ll take confidence from that.”

Crawford will give late fitness tests to Tesfaye Bramble (hamstring) and Scott Chaplin (foot) tomorrow as his side look to extend their unbeaten league record to 20 games.

Like Brightlingsea Regent, fellow Thurlow Nunn Premier outfit Norwich United are also in FA Vase Fourth Round Proper action tomorrow with a visit to Ampthill Town.

And indeed, Hadleigh, who reached the quarter-final stages of the competition last season should also be in last 32 action tomorrow.

The Brettsiders were drawn against either of Moneyfields or AFC Bitton but were handed a bye into round five after the pair were removed from the competition by the FA after their game was abandoned.

“As soon as I heard that the game was abandoned and fighting was involved, I was confident that we’d be handed a walkover,” said Crawford.

“People have called us lucky but it’s not our fault is it?

“We’re in the hat for round five on Monday and are looking forward to the draw.”

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