New manager Andy Reynolds an inspiration for Suffolk FA youngsters

IF Suffolk’s Young Guns need any inspiration they need look no further than their new manager.

Andy Reynolds, who took over from Darren Oxbrow just before the Suffolk FA Under-18 side’s first round FA County Youth Cup tie, won the competition with Suffolk in 2005.

The Lowestoft Town goalkeeper has taken over running both the Suffolk FA Under-18 and Under-16 sides, with Ross Wilding as his assistant.

The 25-year-old, who works as an FA Tesco Skills Coach in Suffolk, was expecting to play a major role in Lowestoft’s attempt to win promotion from the Ryman League Premier Division this season, but has instead been dogged by a knee injury.

He said: “I have got a knee injury which I have been unable to shake off. I have had a couple of attempts at coming back, but it has not worked out for me.

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“I have got to manage the injury properly, which is difficult because of my job, with coaching and driving, as it is hard to rest the knee.”

Reynolds, who jointly runs Lowestoft’s Under-18 side with former Trawlerboys team-mate and fellow FA coach Jamie Godbold, explained how he came to be offered the position.

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“I had a phone call from Suffolk FA chairman David Porter asking if I would be willing to take over the reins for the rest of the season, and I jumped at the chance to do so.

“I expect to be out for a few more weeks at least, so the timing has fallen quite nicely with my being out injured.”

Reynolds, who was born in Toronto in Canada but moved to Suffolk at an early age, said that should he regain fitness and his place in the Lowestoft side he would juggle his commitments.

Appointed a week before Suffolk’s first game in this season’s FA County Youth Cup, Reynolds said: “I looked at the players in the squad and thought it was in the best interests of those who had been selected that I made some changes for that game.”

Suffolk thrashed Gloucestershire 7-2 at Haverhill’s New Croft ground, and Reynolds said: “The most impressive thing is those lads I brought in didn’t even know about the game seven days’ beforehand, and were thrown in by a new manager – very few of them even knew my name – and they did well.

“We won the first half 3-2, but were very solid in the second half and scored four more goals and as a team we progressed over the 90 minutes.”

Suffolk now face Norfolk in the second round at Bowthorpe Park, Norwich on Saturday, kick-off 2pm, and Reynolds said: “You are not going to get many weak sides at county representative level.

“Because of the number of professional clubs in Norfolk and Suffolk you are always going to get good players playing for their county sides.

“Norfolk won this competition last year and Suffolk had a real purple patch, winning it in 2005 and 2008, and also reaching the final in 2007.

“It is also good for the area that you have got sides like Lowestoft, Leiston, Needham Market and Wroxham who are playing at a good level that these lads can aspire to.”

The same season Reynolds played in Suffolk’s successful 2005 team he was on the bench for Ipswich Town as they defeated Southampton in the FA Youth Cup final. He came close to achieving a hat-trick of wins in national competitions, playing for Lowestoft in their 2-1 FA Vase final defeat against Kirkham & Wesham at Wembley Stadium in 2008.

“I have been fortunate that I have been involved with well-run teams, but it shows what you can achieve with a lot of hard work,” he added.

Suffolk squad: J Spurling, C Norris (both Woodbridge Town, M West, R Charles (both Felixstowe & Walton Utd), E Key, C Finch, L Wales, R Bailey (all Bury Town), A Forshaw (Haverhill Rovers), J Gregory (Stowmarket Town), B Heath, E Crowe, M Poxon, C Corrick, (all Needham Market), H Cole, J Fryatt (Woodbridge Town), A Fitzgerald (Lowestoft Town).

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