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Ilford boss Cove believes they made it a special occasion for local lad Sunni

PUBLISHED: 11:00 30 January 2018

Ilford captain Chris Lockwood with Sunni ahead of the match (Pic: Billy Cove)

Ilford captain Chris Lockwood with Sunni ahead of the match (Pic: Billy Cove)

Archant

Ilford joint-boss Billy Cove revealed it was a special occasion as they celebrated local boy Sunni in their 2-1 victory against Hackney Wick.

Sunni at Cricklefield Stadium (Pic: Billy Cove)Sunni at Cricklefield Stadium (Pic: Billy Cove)

The Foxes picked three points and moved up to seventh in the Essex Senior League thanks to goals from Liam Whipps and Jamie Hart, while they also had a special guest attending the fixture.

Sunni, who 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 had the local boy walking the two teams out at the weekend.

“It was a special occasion, for a very special boy,” Cove said.

Ilford's Alex Skeva and Tony Cookey with Sunni's shirt (Pic: Billy Cove)Ilford's Alex Skeva and Tony Cookey with Sunni's shirt (Pic: Billy Cove)

“We have been following his progress for a few months now, so it was great to get him and his family over, and to see the smile on his face when he led the teams out, made it all worthwhile.”

Cove revealed they’re unsure how much money was raised at the match yet but revealed it was more about raising awareness on his condition.

“Sunni’s auntie had a collection box, so I am not sure of the total,” he said.

“The day was more to raise awareness of his condition, and to hopefully get some bigger clubs in the area to take note.”

The former Maidenhead United striker Cove also revealed the club is hoping to host a pre-season charity match in aid of Sunni as well.

“We would love to stay involved, and we will stay in touch with the family.

“There is talk of a charity game pre-season, and we hope to get a team down with a big following so that we can raise as much money for him as possible, so if anyone reading this would like to get involved, please contact us.

“You never know, I might slip the number 10 shirt back on for one last time.”

The Foxes bounced back in the match after suffering a 3-1 defeat to Stansted mid-week and Cove was pleased to see his men back amongst the points.

“I’m really happy with the three points, less so about the performance.

“We never really got going until the second half, we had a little heart to heart at half time, and the players responded the way we asked them to.”

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