Cracknell returns to Hadleigh

HADLEIGH United have welcomed back leading scorer Tony Cracknell after his brief spell with Woodbridge Town – but he is ineligible to play against Maldon in the first round of the FA Carlsberg Vase tomorrow.

By Elvin King

HADLEIGH United have welcomed back leading scorer Tony Cracknell after his brief spell with Woodbridge Town – but he is ineligible to play against Maldon in the first round of the FA Carlsberg Vase tomorrow.

Cracknell was signed on Tuesday, and players have to be registered at least seven days prior to Vase matches, which is a shame as far as Hadleigh supporters are concerned.

The burly striker is a big favourite at Millfield and it was a surprise when he left after eight years continuous service to move to Jewson League, Premier Division Woodbridge.

Hadleigh manager Louis Newman said today that he was pleased to welcome Cracknell back. "I have a lot of time for the lad," he said.

"He was at the club when I took over five years ago, but he felt he wanted to step up a division. I understand that it did not work out and that he was not looking forward to his games for Woodbridge.

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"He is not on a penny with us but enjoyment has to come first and we look forward to Tony getting back among the goals for us again soon."

Cracknell made his Hadleigh return in a Jewson League First Division Cup match against Needham Market on Tuesday, where he was sent off towards the end of the game.

Maldon play in the Premier Division of the Jewson League and will start clear favourites tomorrow. But Newman will be doing all he can to stop his side from making it a hat-trick of cup defeats having lost to Needham in the Suffolk Senior Cup last Saturday and their local rivals again on Tuesday.

"Maldon have a potent strike force and in Scott Witney they have a player who will always score goals. But they do concede goals and we will be doing our best to exploit this.

"We may need a little bit of luck but you have to work for any good fortune you might get. And this is what we shall be doing."

Unlike the FA Cup, where Stowmarket Town scooped the jackpot – £16,000 for winning three games – the Football Association are no so fruitful in their support of grassroots football when it comes to the Vase.

The victors of tomorrow's ties will receive just £250. "That will be welcome," said Newman. "But there is a feeling – and I agree – that the extra money on offer should be spread more evenly."

Not known for his frequent dips into the transfer market, Newman did make three notable summer signings to boost his loyal squad.

Chris Smith came from Needham, Mark Francis from Whitton and Peter Grant from Felixstowe.

"We have not made a brilliant start to the season and I am looking at bringing in some other fresh faces," said Newman, who is happy to continue with Matt Paisley in goal with Wayne Donovan still on the sidelines with a cartilage injury.

"Matt has done very well this season and I have every confidence in him for tomorrow's very important match."

Ipswich Wanderers have not had the best starts to the season either although the Premier Division club went into the FA Cup record books when father and son Winston and Jermaine Harewood scored in the same game earlier in the season.

Young Jermaine is currently interesting a couple of Nationwide League clubs and he has a chance to show his worth tomorrow when the Humber Doucy Lane-based club visit Northamptonshire to play Cogenhoe in the Vase.

Cogenhoe play in the United Counties League and will give Wanderers a severe test, although manager Alan Dilloway will be hoping his players can rise to the occasion.

In the Premier Division of the Jewson League, there is a local derby at Notcutt's Park with Woodbridge Town taking on Felixstowe and Walton United. In the First Division, high-flying Leiston are at home to Somersham while Needham Market visit Brightlingsea boosted by their two cup wins and are favourites to beat the struggling Essex side.

Whitton United are at home to March Town United with managers Kevin Cunningham and Nicky Bartlett keeping fingers crossed their players can hit form against a side that has recently taken on a new look following a change in management.

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