Top two in Thurlow Nunn League face off as Felixstowe & Walton host Hadleigh United

Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford

Hadleigh United manager Stuart Crawford will not hit the panic button should the Brettsiders lose their top-of-the-table clash at Felixstowe & Walton United on Saturday.

Hadleigh lead the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division table by 11 points from the second-placed Seasiders, but Gorleston (two games in hand) and Brightlingsea (four games in hand) look to be the main challengers for the title.

Hadleigh have lost their last two home games, to take their season defeat tally to three and have hit a difficult patch at a crucial stage of the campaign.

A third league defeat in five would further increase the pressure on Hadleigh, but Crawford insists the game won’t decide the destiny of the title.

“I’m not going to say this game could make or break our title hopes because there are still plenty of games left,” said Crawford.

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“If we lose it’s not over and if we win there will still be numerous hurdles to negotiate.”

He added: “They (Felixstowe) have got a good manager. I don’t know him, but he’s got good credentials.

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“The likes of Ben Cranfield, Bradley and Rhys Barber and Lewis Pemberton are very experienced at this level. They should be in and around the top really.

“I know how they play. They don’t tend to change their system much, they tend to stick to it regardless of who they are playing and I respect that.”

Crawford’s counterpart Kevin O’Donnell has taken the pressure off his Felixstowe players by insisting they are not in the hunt for top spot as they chase a cup double in the Suffolk Premier Cup and Red Insure League Cup.

“The title could go either way. It’s in Brightlingsea’s hands with all their games in hand, but to be honest I’d rather be in Felixstowe’s position and have the points on the board,” he said.

“It’s between those two, without a doubt. If I’m honest, we never really saw ourselves being title contenders this season.

“We’ve got the two cup finals to look forward to and we’re just enjoying our football.”

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