Former Diss Town player Hayden Pain agrees to join East Harling
It has been a 12-month pursuit, but East Harling manager Stacey Lawrence is pleased to have finally secured the services of Hayden Pain.
The former Diss Town defender first came to Lawrence’s attention during a pre-season friendly fixture last summer, when his Harling side were put through their paces by Pain’s RAF Honington outfit.
Lawrence made his interest known following that encounter – and on a few occasions after that – but Pain was keen to see out the campaign in the Regiment League.
However, with his family having recently moved to East Harling, Pain has now took Lawrence up on his offer.
“I didn’t see Hayden play for Diss, it was during a friendly against RAF Honington,” said the Harling boss.
“They were physically strong, fit lads and they beat us. After the game I found out they had done a two-hour fitness session before playing us!
“Hayden was their captain and he got two goals that evening from corners. I tried to sign him that night but he said he was keen to stick where he was.
“I kept hassling him over the season, even if it was just for one game when we were short but it never came off.
“And then when I tried again recently, he said he was just about to text me because his family had moved to East Harling and he is keen for them to be able to meet up while he is playing.
“He is the perfect signing for us and gives us good competition in a position where we were already strong.”
At the other end of the pitch, Lawrence has seen three forwards move on.
Ian Ward, Jarel Orr and Brad Hunt are the players in question, leaving Lawrence seeking to bolster a position in which he was already plotting improvements.
“We need strikers with those lads leaving, but I wanted to add to it any way,” he added.
“Our top scoring striker last season got seven, and you need more than that if you want to be challenging towards the top end.
“I’ve been working hard on it and have spoken to a couple of lads that we are keen on.
“If we can get one or two of them, then it will be the best position I have been in squad-wise since I took over five or six years ago.”
It remains to be seen when East Harling will be back in Hadley & Ottaway Anglian Combination Division One action, with a return date for non-league football currently unknown.
Nevertheless, Lawrence is planning to get his squad back together early next month for the good of the players’ physical and mental health.
“The players are bored and desperate to get back to it,” he said.
“They are a close knit group and doing a little bit of training will help them in a number of ways.
“We have a personal trainer coming in and so they will take a group of five, I will take a group of five and my assistant will take another group of five.
“We will then clean the equipment, switch around and put on a session like that.
“I cannot wait to get back out there and nor can the lads.
“They have been great during lockdown. Whenever we have needed someone at the club to do things like paint the changing rooms, they’ve done it without any hesitation.”
More by this authorLiam Apicella
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