Grant 'thrown in at the deep end'

PUBLISHED: 13:00 07 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:22 04 March 2010

NEW Hadleigh United manager Peter Grant admits he is being “thrown in at the deep end” as he prepares his side for their opening match of the season.

Hadleigh, who are returning to the Premier Division of the Ridgeons League after an absence of 12 years, start their campaign tomorrow away to Wroxham - one of the pre-season favourites for the title.

NEW Hadleigh United manager Peter Grant admits he is being “thrown in at the deep end” as he prepares his side for their opening match of the season.

Hadleigh, who are returning to the Premier Division of the Ridgeons League after an absence of 12 years, start their campaign tomorrow away to Wroxham - one of the pre-season favourites for the title.

Grant was installed as successor to Steve Jay, who left the club two weeks ago, on Tuesday night and introduced to the players prior to their 2-1 friendly defeat to Ryman League Division One North opponents Heybridge Swifts.

The Glasgow-born 41-year-old is under no illusions that he has been handed a difficult first fixture, which will be followed by a swift return next Tuesday to Debenham Leisure Centre, where he was coach to Mel Aldis for two-and-a-half years.

He said: “I am being thrown in at the deep end, but if we can pick up some points in the early stages it will set us up for the rest of the season.”

Grant was a youth and reserve team player at Ipswich Town from 1984-1986, before moving to Stockport County, where he made his debut at Edgeley Park against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

In total he made three full league appearances and a further six as substitute as well as playing in one Littlewoods Cup tie against Sheffield Wednesday before his professional career was cut short by injury.

He returned to Suffolk and played in the Eastern Counties League for Debenham, Diss, Felixstowe, Hadleigh, Harwich and Woodbridge.

It was after he broke his ankle playing for Hadleigh Reserves two-and-a-half years ago that he linked up with Aldis at Debenham.

Even though Debenham won promotion to the Premier Division for the first time last season, Grant said it was not a difficult decision to return to Hadleigh.

“This opportunity came up and I felt it was the right time to take it. I have always had a love for Hadleigh, I live in the town and I have a lot of good friends that I have made through the football club.

“It is going to be hard, but my main objective is to keep Hadleigh in the Premier Division. It doesn't matter where we finish in the first two or three years, but we need to establish ourselves and build from there. The club is going in the right direction with a new clubhouse and good facilities and Hadleigh deserve to be in the Premier Division,” he said.

Grant's assistant is ex-Whitton United manager Gary Thompson, who is also a former Ipswich Town reserve player.

Although they were not at Portman Road at the same time they did play together at Felixstowe.

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