SIL preview: Melton St Audrys v Westerfield

Melton St Audrys’ joint first-team manager, Phil Fairbrother, is confident that his side’s season is now up and running after a slow start to the campaign.

After accumulating just three points from a possible 21 at the start of the season, ironically against this weekend’s opponents Westerfield, Melton found themselves cast adrift with Westerfield at the foot of the table.

However, a recent revival, which has seen them beat Capel Plough and Coplestonians as well as gaining creditable draws against Grundisburgh and Haughley, has given the side renewed confidence, something that has delighted Fairbrother.

“We’ve been fantastic of late,” he said.

“To be honest we lost so many players in the summer that the situation we found ourselves in was almost inevitable – I think when Paul Ray and I took over in July we only had nine players!

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“Thankfully we have managed to recruit a good squad now with a great team spirit who are only looking up the league.”

Fairbrother, a part of St Audrys in a number of playing and non-playing roles for over 30 years, continued: “Paul and I work tirelessly for the club, putting in 35-40 hours a week so it’s very much a case of you get out what you put in.”

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Melton beat Westerfield 2-0 away from home on the opening day of the season but Fairbrother is expecting a ‘completely different game’ this time around.

“Neither of us were at full strength that day and I think you can expect a completely different game this weekend,” declared Fairbrother.

“A month ago teams were queuing up to play against the likes of us and Westerfield but now they don’t want to play us!”

Like Melton, opponents Westerfield have struggled for the majority of the season but after winning back-to-back games against East Bergholt and stalling Ipswich Valley Rangers, they also go into the bottom of the table clash full of confidence.

“We’re quite similar, us and Westerfield,” said Fairbrother.

“They have a great team togetherness and really put a shift in and play for one another.

“It’s rare that two teams at the bottom of the table go into this game as two of the form teams but that just shows you the nature of this league – anybody can beat anybody.”

A win for either side, who are both locked on 11 points, could potentially lift them to as high as 13th in a league that sees fifth position and bottom separated by just eight points.

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