Haverhill Rovers boss Ali Shulver: Dressing room insight will help

HAVERHILL Rovers new interim manager Ali Shulver believes his experience of the Rovers dressing room and an inside-knowledge of their system will prove invaluable to him this season.

Shulver was promoted to first-team manager of the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division outfit for the remainder of the campaign last month after Peter Betts brought his four-year reign to an end.

Shulver – who has twice managed the side this term in Betts’ absence, a 1-0 win at Norwich United and a 3-2 defeat at Gorleston – took charge of the team for Tuesday night’s 1-0 win away to Hadleigh United in the Red Insure Cup, to set up a quarter-final tie at Stanway Rovers, who Haverhill face away on Saturday.

Shulver has revealed how his insight into the Rovers way of life will allow him to nurture a much-needed consistency at New Croft.

“I’ve been in the changing rooms since the start of last season, working as a coach and as a physio for a bit,” said Shulver, whose 10th-placed side have won eight of their last ten league games.

“I know what the team is about. I know the system – we have two or three versions and I know them well.

“I know where the players play their best football and how to get the best out of them.

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“I think the appointment was made that way, to not disrupt the season. We’re not looking to make drastic changes.

“I’m there to steady the ship and keep the consistency going.

“We’ve proved we can compete with the very best teams in the area, but consistency will be the key.

“It’s no good getting a great result and then follow that up with a defeat against a lesser team.

“You have to grind out results no matter how pretty the football may not be. You have to make yourself hard to beat.”

Shulver, who also has experience of working within the Rovers youth system, admits it might take some time to get used to the busy lifestyle of a manager.

“It’s been quite hectic; talking to the players and talking to the media,” he said. “Everybody gets a piece of my opinion now!

“But Peter [Betts] is still there in the background and he has been helping me out. We have been bouncing ideas around on training methods and match tactics.

“I took training for the first time [last Thursday] and the boys were very enthusiastic.

“There was a bit of banter going round. A lot of them are calling me gaffer now! But they are giving me great support.

“They are talking to me more about the footballing side now which is something I welcome. I always respect the views of the players.”

Shulver is now relishing the opportunity to manage Rovers, though does not want to assume the post full time at the end of the season due to his involvement with his son’s football.

“It is not a job interview for me by any means,” added Shulver, whose son Rhys, 15, is hopeful of winning a scholarship with Peterborough United.

“I’ve told the club to keep looking for a new appointment for next season. I won’t be going for the job next summer.”

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