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Essex Senior League: Billy Cove hoping Ilford can put smile on Sunni’s face against Hackney Wick

PUBLISHED: 14:00 26 January 2018

Ilford joint-managers Billy Cove and Allan Fenn (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Ilford joint-managers Billy Cove and Allan Fenn (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

The Foxes and Hackney Wick will be led onto the Cricklefield pitch by local boy Sunni on Saturday

Ilford joint-manager Billy Cove is hoping to give local boy Sunni a day to remember at Cricklefield Stadium on Saturday.

The Foxes play host to basement club Hackney Wick in the Essex Senior League and the home side will have a special guest attending the fixture.

Sunni lives in Ilford, but was born premature and as a result has cerebral palsy and so his family are trying to raise £60,000 so he can have a Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Ilford will have the local boy walking the two teams out at the weekend and Cove explained how the Cricklefield club became aware of his story.

He said: “Sunni is a local boy and I just saw an article his Mum put on Twitter so we got in touch with the family.

“We asked if he would like to come over as we want to do as much as we can for people in the community.

“Anything we can do to help him and raise his spirits we will, so hopefully he has a really good time on Saturday.”

The Foxes will look to bounce back this weekend after going down 3-1 at Stansted on Tuesday night – Ilford’s first game since the departure of James Peagram.

After going behind at Hargrave Park, Tony Cookey got the away side back on level terms, but they conceded twice more.

Ilford will aim to respond when Hackney Wick visit, Cove said: “It will be a good day to have Sunni over and hopefully he inspires us to put in a performance.

“We have followed his progress for the last three or four months. He has cerebral palsy and his Mum is trying to raise as much money as she can for him so he can have an operation in Great Ormond Street Hospital.

“We will hopefully have him as our mascot on Saturday and bring some awareness to his plight from the local community and get other teams interested from the east London area, so maybe they can follow suit and get him involved like we have as well.”

Ilford saw their home fixture with Great Wakering Rovers last weekend postponed due to an unplayable pitch and days later it was revealed Peagram would be signing for Basildon United.

The Foxes didn’t start life after their star forward’s departure well, but will look to show some mettle this weekend.

Cove said: “We will know what sort of players we have got by the way they react on Saturday against Hackney Wick.

“Hackney Wick are bottom of the league so on paper we should win, but if anyone from their club was watching us at Stansted I don’t think they will fear us.”

For more information about Sunni, click here.

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