Manager hopes 'right' team will turn up

WHITTON United take on Tiptree United in the Premier Division of the Ridgeons League tomorrow with manager Gary Thompson hoping that the 'right' team turns up.

Elvin King

WHITTON United take on Tiptree United in the Premier Division of the Ridgeons League tomorrow with manager Gary Thompson hoping that the 'right' team turns up.

His Ipswich-based side are so inconsistent this season that former professional Thompson never knows what to expect.

“Three points would be nice, but it will depend on which team turns up,” said Thompson, who was on Ipswich Town's books for a number of years without making a first team appearance.

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“We sparkled when we won at Ely last Saturday, but were unable to shine when we lost at home to Harwich on Tuesday - another one of the games we should have won.”

Thompson lifted Whitton to promotion from Division One last season, but he now has his problems.

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Chairman Phil Pemberton has not been replaced since resigning earlier this season and joint manager Neil Gregory departed after the victory at Ely.

“Neil felt he wanted a break,” said Thompson, who added: “Not having a chairman doesn't help. You need a figurehead.”

Thompson is looking to keep Whitton in the Premier Division and would like to see them move up from the fringe of the relegation zone. “With respect to other clubs, we were a very good side in a poor league last season,” he said. “Now we are paying a high price for any lapses.

“We can motor along well for 60 minutes or so and then let things slip when mistakes creep in.”

Thompson has used 16-year-olds fed through from the Whitton-based PASE scheme and he sees the production of talent as an integral part of running any football club.

He said: “It is important to build a club, and not rely on a quick-fix cash injection.

“You need youth and reserve teams to produce players, but the other side of the coin is that once they start to produce at first team level there is the danger they will be taken away by a wealthy club.

“There are clubs around us with three times my budget, but it is no big deal to me. With a side made up mainly of local players with more consistency we can hold our own at this level.”

Another former Ipswich Town defender Simon Betts is a strong influence in the Whitton side, while teenager Oliver Canfer is making rapid progress in a side whose average age is often around 20 or 21.

Felixstowe and Walton United are at home to Haverhill Rovers with new manager Glen Driver having made three recent signings in keeper Ben Nower from Mildenhall, forward thinking midfielder Chris Williams from Whitton and central defender Danny Carnell back after a spell with Ipswich Wanderers.

Leiston come down to earth after their unbelievable FA Cup experiences with a trip to much-troubled Wivenhoe, while Woodbridge Town (who have lost their last six league games) face a stiff task against leaders Lowestoft Town and Needham Market visit Stanway Rovers.

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