Ilford looking to go on a run and chase down top six as they push for a strong finish

PUBLISHED: 12:00 02 February 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)


Ilford are looking to get on a run and chase down the Essex Senior League’s top six teams.

The Foxes welcome rivals Tower Hamlets to Cricklefield Stadium on Saturday (3pm) as they look for a second consecutive win.

Joint-boss Billy Cove knows it will be a tough test and expects a similar match to when they snatched a late 3-2 victory at the Mile End Stadium earlier this season.

“I am expecting a very tough game,” said Cove.

“It was such a good game last time, so a repeat of that, and the three points would be great for us.

“I’d like it to be a little more one-sided in our favour.”

Cove praised the Hamlets squad and manager AJ Ashanike for quietly going about their business and being the surprise package in the league this season.

“AJ has put together a very strong side, and it’ll be nice to see a few of the ex-Ilford boys they have in their squad,” he added.

“They’ve been quietly effective, and are up there on merit.

“We beat them at their place in the last minute, so hopefully we can get the job done a lot earlier than that this time and stay above them in the league.”

Cove also praised Ashanike and believes he gets the best out of his young squad, adding: “They’re young, strong, and very committed. AJ seems to get the best out of them and the youngsters at the club are doing very well under his guidance.

“We will worry about the whole squad, as I wouldn’t like to single anyone out.”

Ilford currently sit seventh in the table, one place above Tower Hamlets, but Allan Fenn and Cove’s men are still eight points behind sixth-placed Clapton.

The Foxes – who were due to host Basildon last night (Wednesday) – are keen to start making ground up and will be boosted for this weekend’s clash with the return of defender Jonah Gregory and Glen Warwick.

The club welcomed a special guest to last weekend’s 2-1 victory against Hackney Wick, which came courtesy of goals from Liam Whipps and Jamie Hart, in local six-year-old Sunni.

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

The club also announced this week that they are looking for a part-time physio and anyone interested should contact Billy Cove on 07814 698971.

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