Rovers announce new manager before Haverhill derby match

NEW DAWN: New Haverhill Rovers manager Marc Abbott
NEW DAWN: New Haverhill Rovers manager Marc Abbott

Cowling said that he has been offered a position as vice chairman — but, at the time of going to press, he was waiting to see a job description before accepting the role.

MANAGEMENT CHANGES: Ben Cowling and Rod Gaffan are no longer part of the management team at Haverhill Rovers

MANAGEMENT CHANGES: Ben Cowling and Rod Gaffan are no longer part of the management team at Haverhill Rovers

The club have wasted no time in appointing a replacement however, in a bid to provide more ‘stability’.

And they have looked no further than first-team player Abbott. The club has been under the temporary management of football coordinator Peter Betts for the past five fixtures, while Cowling recuperates from a hip replacement.

Cowling has been unable to attend away games and is due to undergo a second hip replacement later in the season.

The chairman of the club, Malcolm Luff, decided that ‘a move to a different role made sense in the circumstances’.

Luff said: “It wasn’t an easy decision but we decided that we needed to restructure.

“So I can’t emphasise enough, he hasn’t been sacked — he’s been offered a move to a different role.

“And the door is not shut to his return, but as a club we need to be in a better position and, with the uncertainty of the league and the numbers of clubs being relegated, (we) felt this was the best move.”

Betts said: “Marc has been supported on his coaching pathway for the past five years by the football club and has a fantastic knowledge of the expectations and potential of the club.

“From a club perspective, it’s great to see him training and playing here before progressing to first team manager and it’s part of our long-term strategy at the club.

“He has always displayed tremendous professionalism in his work and a strong desire to continue improving and will be an asset in his new position.”

The club added that further appointments to the management team will be made soon.

Luff admitted the timing was ‘unfortunate’ as the club prepare to play local Thurlow Nunn Premier Division side Haverhill Borough on Friday.

Luff said: “Of course it’s not ideal, but Ben hasn’t been able to get in the dugout anyway. It’s no secret Rovers have not had a good run, we’ve had a really poor run of form, and it was felt things had to change.

“And so we go into the game with a clean slate.”

The game will be on Rovers’ grass pitch on Friday (7.45pm), with both teams in need of three points.

The first fixture, scheduled on Borough’s 3G pitch on September 29, was abandoned due to a medical emergency.

It is the second meeting of the teams after last year’s FA Vase 1-0 win for Borough.

Borough manager Anthony Choat said: “It’s an opportunity for us to bounce back from a couple of poor results.

“What’s going on with Rovers won’t affect us and, in a derby game like this, form goes out the window.

“The pressure is still on them, we’ll go out and enjoy ourselves and hopefully get our second win over them.”