Austin’s aiming to make the step up

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SHANE Austin has thanked Stowmarket Town for “taking a punt on him” after being appointed the new manager at Greens Meadow.

The 38-year-old departed Suffolk and Ipswich League (SIL) Division One side Bramford United to take up the post at the struggling Ridgeons League First Division outfit.

Stow gained just their second win of the season under the watchful eye of their new boss when thrashing Fakenham Town 5-0 on Saturday, and Austin is looking for many more wins on top of that.

“I want to get the players enjoying it again and winning as many games as we can,” said the ex-Claydon chief. “It’s a big job for me so I want to do as well as I can at it.

“I have to thank the club for taking a punt on me because it’s normally the same names who are linked with jobs in the Ridgeons League.”

Austin — who leaves his Bramford side third from bottom in SIL Division One — joins a Stow side that were challenging for promotion last season, but are continuing to suffer a hangover from their disastrous dip in form towards the end of the campaign.

Saturday’s victory against Fakenham moved them off the bottom of the table for the first time this season, but their poor run of form will not force Austin into immediate wholesale changes.

“For the first two to four weeks, everybody at the club will have a chance to impress, including the reserves and the under-18s,” he said.

Austin’s first assignment will be tomorrow’s trip (3pm) to the only side below Stow in the First Division, Ipswich Wanderers, but in a First Division Knockout Cup encounter.

“It’s a cup game so it relieves a bit of the pressure, but we just need to win matches,” said Austin. “We have got good players at the club and if we can get the atmosphere right we can hopefully start pushing up the league table, back to where they were last season.”

Victory would give Stow back-to-back victories, having eased past Norfolk outfit Fakenham on Saturday.

The home side were gifted a 15th-minute lead when visiting keeper Toby Harris fumbled Wayne Proctor’s shot, allowing Chris Gray to tap in the loose ball.

They did not double that advantage until the hour-mark when Ross Myhill slipped a pass through for Romicio Lopes to score and, within six minutes, Myhill had found the net himself, helped by Gray’s audacious dummy.

Proctor smashed in the goal of the game from 25 yards to make it four and young substitute Jordan Mayes, the Ridgeons Youth League’s top scorer, netted the fifth goal in injury time after Proctor’s deft header had come back off the bar.