New Ipswich Athletic management team thrown in at deep end, in bid to avoid relegation

New Ipswich Athletic manager Mark Peck (centre), flanked by his management team; Adam Howes (left) a

New Ipswich Athletic manager Mark Peck (centre), flanked by his management team; Adam Howes (left) and Mark Whiting. - Credit: Archant

Talk about a baptism of fire!

The new management team at rock-bottom Ipswich Athletic made their SIL Senior Division bows in the 4-1 defeat at champions, Crane Sports last weekend, and face the same team again on Saturday.

Mark Peck is the new manager, having brought his coaching team (Adam Howes and Mark Whiting) and several players from Stage Event Security – the Division Three side – who withdrew from the SIL recently, as a result.

Peck still owns Stage Event Security, but found the opportunity to move to Senior football irresistible, despite Athletic being four points adrift at the bottom.

He said: “Cranes home and away, that was starting at the deep end!

“Last Saturday was the first time that we had worked with the existing players, I brought three or four with me. We have quite a young team, but they are up for the fight.

“They bought into our philosophy straight away, despite only having an hour or so with them before kick-off.”

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He added: “Cranes were very good in the last 20 minutes and our fitness started to tell, but we matched them in the first half and had chances to take the lead.”

Grundisburgh went seven points clear of Athletic with victory against Wenhaston last weekend, Westerfield now next to bottom in the top flight.

“It was displeasing that Grundisburgh won and no-one was expecting us to get anything out of Cranes home and away,” Peck explained.

“I have worked out that we could possibly pick up 20-21 points. We might still go down but if we do, we’ll be in a position to rebuild.

“I think Grundisburgh will survive, but you could be looking at teams like Wenhaston, Westerfield and Stanton being down fighting with us towards the end of the season. Hopefully it will go to the last game, we play at home to Leiston St Margarets.

“The players are buzzing and ready to give it a real go, while we are positive as a management team,”

A former player with Mendlesham and Sproughton, Peck and his team’s rise to the Senior Division has been a steady one.

“We were a Sunday team at Stage Security for five seasons, before going over to the Saturday league,” he explained.

“It was hard to let go a club we had built, but the goal was always to go to the Senior Division.

“I was sold by the Ipswich Athletic set-up, the facilities the club has, and the youth setup in place.”

Elsewhere on Saturday, in the Senior Division, leaders Henley Athletic go to Ransomes Sports and Achilles, on Henley’s tails, go to Coplestonians.

In the other games, East Bergholt host Grundisburgh, Capel Plough go to Felixstowe Harpers, Leiston entertain Bramford United, Wenhaston welcome Haughley and Stanton travel to fellow strugglers, Westerfield United.

In Division One, league leaders Claydon, with a two-point lead at the top, host AFC Kesgrave, while Benhall St Mary, in second, entertain fourth-top AFC Hoxne.

Sporting ‘87, in third, welcome Stowupland Falcons, the gap between the top four being just two points.

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