Fox arrives as Hadleigh need to be more cunning ahead of clash with Ely
PUBLISHED: 12:49 28 February 2020 | UPDATED: 12:49 28 February 2020
Gary Donnison Photography 2017
Hadleigh United have been embroiled in a relegation scrap all season, but they have a big opportunity to take a giant stride towards safety when they entertain fellow strugglers Ely City at Millfield tomorrow afternoon.
Christian Appleford's men are currently two points clear of basement dwellers Gorleston, who currently occupy the one relegation slot, having played the same number of games, while they are five points behind third-from-bottom Ely, today's visitors, with three games in hand.
Tomorrow's clash is therefore vital, for both clubs.
Hadleigh have shown signs of improvement in recent times, although they have only actually played a couple of games during February.
They recorded an impressive 3-1 at Walsham-le-Willows, at the start of the month, before being undone by a last ditch goal in a 2-1 defeat at in-form Whitton a week later. They have not played a league match for three weeks.
"It's very important that this is a match we don't lose," insisted Hadleigh boss Appleford.
"We will obviously be looking to go out and win the match, so we will be on the attack, but it's important that we don't lose the game.
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"We still have plenty of fixtures to play against teams in and around us, or in mid-table, including a home match against bottom club Gorleston.
"But this weekend is a big one for us. It's a six pointer, if ever there was one, for both clubs.
"We're looking forward to it, having played so well in our previous game against Whitton, when we deserved a point as a bare minimum.
"In fact, we should really have won it. We were punished for not taking our chances, before they popped up in injury-time with the winner. We were punished in both boxes.
"It's been like a mini-season winter break for us, since the Whitton match (February 8). We have a few games in hand, so we need to cash in on these.
"We need to take our opportunities, and make sure we have a cushion between ourselves and the bottom," added Appleford.
Hadleigh have been boosted by the arrival of Jemel Fox as player-coach, following his switch from Haverhill Rovers.
"Jemel played for me at Mildenhall Town, and he is a welcome signing for us. He's been with the club for a week and should make his debut for us this weekend, weather permitting," added Appleford.
Fox, a full-back who can also operate as a centre-half or wing-back, is a vastly experienced defender who has played for the likes of Needham Market, AFC Sudbury, Leiston, Mildenhall and Stowmarket Town. He is the nephew of ex-Norwich City, Newcastle United and Tottenham winger Ruel Fox.