Town’s new striker challenged to prove worth

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Newmarket Town manager Kevin Grainger has admitted that new signing Matt Hayden will have a point to prove in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division next season.

After scoring 40 goals in 34 appearances for Lakenheath in the Kershaw Premier League, Hayden switched to Newmarket’s rivals Mildenhall Town last summer.

However, he lasted just a month at Recreation Way and then had a spell with Long Melford before ending the campaign back at Lakenheath.

Despite his previous struggles, Grainger had no hesitation in giving the striker another chance to show his quality.

“He has a big point to prove, but he is an established player and deserves the chance,” said Grainger.

“He does have this reputation of being hard to handle at times, but from the conversations we have had, I have nothing but respect for him.

“Quite simply, he scores goals and he has that bit of fight in him that all good number nines need.”

Also linking up with the Jockeys is centre-back James Chivers, who spent last term with Over Sports.

Meanwhile, it has been announced that following the signing of a three-year sponsorship deal, Newmarket’s ground from next season will be known as The Ridgeons Stadium.

Construction work on the facility is well under way and is set to be completed by July, when Newmarket will become the first football club in England to have a cork-filled 3G artificial pitch (picture p74).

n Ryman League Division One North outfit Soham Town Rangers have bolstered their squad with the addition of 18-year-old left-back Will Gardner from league rivals Bury Town.