Haughley’s new manager confident of staying in SIL Senior Division

FOOTBALL: Phil Fairbrother is confident that he can keep Haughley United in senior football - revealing today that the task in hand is not as tough as he expected.

The former Melton St Audry’s and Framlingham Town manager underwent major heart surgery at Papworth Hospital last August and considered himself fit enough to take over the reins at Haughley last month.

They are still without a league win this season and are bottom of the table with seven points.

But Fairbrother sees enough talent in his squad to move away from the bottom two in the Kingsley Healthcare SIL Senior Division by the end of the season.

They play Westerfield tomorrow, who are one of the teams they are looking to overtake, with Fairbrother saying: “If we don’t win it will make the hill that much steeper to climb.

“I think 24 points will be enough to stay up and we have 12 games left. So that’s 17 more points which means we have to win 50% of our remaining games.

“I was a bit apprehensive when I took the job, but there was no need to be. Haughley are just two or three players short of being as good as the top sides in the division and it’s not going to be as tough a job as I thought.”

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Fairbrother lifted Framlingham from the foot of the table to the finals of the Suffolk Senior Cup and Omnico Cup and runners-up in the Senior Division in three seasons so he has a good record of reinvigorating clubs.

“I live near Haughley and took early retirement so have the time to devote to the job,” added Fairbrother.

“When Gary Nunn was proving a successful manager at Haughley and I was in charge at Framlingham I used to rib him that Haughley was such a well run club that managing it was a doddle.

“We are still close and play golf together every Friday.”

Fairbrother says that his players’ fitness levels are phenomenal and he thanks his acting predecessors Dave Anderson and Shaun Taplin for that.

He has brought in former Mendlesham manager Shaun Wright as his number two and front man Kwame Jones is set to make his debut tomorrow with the ex-Diss man having been signed from Mendlesham.

Not one of the leading eight teams in the Senior Division was victorious last Saturday.

The finalists of this season’s Omnico Cup should be known tomorrow with holders Ransomes Sports entertaining Achilles and Woodbridge Athletic at home to Framlingham.

Both away sides will be looking to avoid the heartbreak of going out of a major cup in successive weekends having lost in last week’s Suffolk Senior Cup semi-finals.

The winners of tomorrow’s Omnico Cup ties will join Crane Sports and First Division Wickham Market in the last four.

Crane surprised Grundisburgh last Saturday with a 2-1 quarter-final victory. Leigh Cooper and Paul Dodsworth netted for Crane with Alexander netting in-between for Grundisburgh.

Wickham, who are set to return to senior football next season, thrashed Bramford Road Old Boys 8-1. Their manager Steve Cooke said: “I’m now looking forward to reaching the final.”

Brown scored two penalties and Taylor also netted a brace with further goals coming from Churchyard, Phillips and Pettit.

BROB, who had five players booked in a 10 minute spell during the second half, scored through Garnham.

AFC Brickmakers’ 9-2 win at Bramford United reserves last weekend was their sixth in succession and maintained their 14 point lead at the top of Division Four.

Kingsley Healthcare SIL recent transfers: Jacob Barnard (Elmswell to Thurston), Rio Bowen-Wade (Haughley to East Bergholt), Lee Capocci (Waterside to Henley), Donovan Cook (Willis to Ipswich Exiles), Sam Cresswell (Waterside to Ipswich Athletic), Harry Froud (Crane Sports to Henley), Richard Idle (Halesworth to Wenhaston), Kieran Joseph (Melton St Audry’s to Felixstowe United).

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