Long Melford boss says Villagers will be punching above weight again in Thurlow Nunn Premier

Jamie Griffiths (centre) has left Long Melford to join Needham Market

Jamie Griffiths (centre) has left Long Melford to join Needham Market - Credit: Archant

New Long Melford manager Jamie Bradbury says the Villagers will be punching above their weight again in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division this season.

Bradbury, assistant to Jules Mumford last season, has taken the top job at Stoneylands and took his first pre-season training session on Tuesday evening.

He will go into the new campaign without the prolific Jamie Griffiths, who scored 56 goals in 77 games for the Villagers.

The former Ipswich Town missed the whole of last season with a knee injury and now, in his rehabilitation, has joined Needham Market ahead of the new campaign.

Long Melford struggled last season after a stellar first year at Premier Division level saw them finish ninth, and Bradbury hailed the work of his predecessor, Jules Mumford, who stood down at the end of the season.

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“We know where we sit in the pecking-order,” said Bradbury, who formerly worked as editor for the Football Association and now runs his own coaching school.

“We will be punching above our weight again in that division and what Jules did in his time there was an amazing achievement.

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“There are sides in our league throwing big money around, while there are teams in the First Division that are doing similar, that haven’t progressed to the Premier Division, so that shows you what a good job Jules did.

“My job will be to ensure we stabilise ourselves in the division.”

Key to doing that could be Melford’s ability to score goals, the Villagers scoring just 42 times in 40 games last season.

“The reason we were down at the bottom was not so much because of our defence, but more to do with our lack of goals,” Bradbury added.

“We are pretty resolute defensively and I will be looking to make sure we tighten up even more.

“It’s (next season) is going to be a challenge, we have got to strengthen, and everyone wants a 20-goal-a-season striker like Jamie Griffiths.

“He is an exceptional player at this level and it will be hard to replace him like-for-like, but we had some new faces in training and we are trying to ensure everyone is in place from last season.”

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