All set for Ridgeons kick-off
Great Yarmouth will kick-start life back in the Premier Division of the Ridgeons League today.The Bloaters, who were last in the top flight in 2005, travel to last season's bottom team Wivenhoe.
Great Yarmouth will kick-start life back in the Premier Division of the Ridgeons League today.
The Bloaters, who were last in the top flight in 2005, travel to last season's bottom team Wivenhoe.
Most of last season's Division One title-winning squad have re-signed and there are a few new additions.
Manager Paul Tong said: “I've been pleased with the pre-season games, and those experiences will stand the youngsters in good stead when they come up against the quality sides in the division. Now the challenge will be to keep up to the mark and improve our standards. And with two games a week in these early months that's a whole new challenge for the lads.”
Across the county border at Kirkley & Pakefield, there is a new management team and a number of new players set for a tough test at Newmarket.
Royals manager Jon Reynolds said the club's realistic aim this season - given the raft of changes to the playing squad and an emphasis on youth - is for a top-half finish.
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Dereham's pre-season schedule was designed to ensure they arrived at today's first league game against visitors Histon Reserves with not only good fitness levels but also a freshness and eagerness to do well.
After last season, when the Magpies were unbeatable in pre-season then had a disappointing start to the league, they have tried to do things slightly differently by reducing the number of friendly matches and incorporating much more short, sharp fitness work.
The other Premier Division fixtures today are CRC v Woodbridge, Debenham v Brantham, Felixstowe & Walton v Ely, Hadleigh v Norwich United, Haverhill v Walsham-le-Willows, Leiston v Wisbech, Mildenhall v Stanway and Wroxham v Clacton.
Meanwhile, in Ridgeons Division One, Thetford visit March and boss Mark Scott said he had a very good squad assembled, with some new signings, and was aiming for a top-six finish this season after a good pre-season. “We have 24 lads in the squad as we have no reserve side this season. Everyone is upbeat and looking forward to it.”
Swaffham host Ipswich Wanderers after faring well in pre-season fixtures. Club secretary Ray Ewart said: “The Pedlars, under the leadership of Paul Hunt, have a squad containing both experience and youth. His fitness regime and refreshing approach to training has brought forward confidence and camaraderie to build what we hope will be a solid squad of local talent.”
Gorleston begin their campaign at Cornard on the back of a good pre-season friendly win over Woodbridge, and on Tuesday will face Fakenham, who start their league programme at home to Halstead determined to avoid a repeat of the last two seasons which saw them often anchored to the foot of Division One.
Ghosts' boss Wayne Anderson has re-signed key players, including a batch of promising youngsters, and gained new ones.
“We shall work as hard as is required to make sure this club is in its rightful place,” he said. “The mood of the club is certainly one of expectation rather than gloom.”
Other Division One fixtures are Diss v Saffron Walden, Godmanchester v Whitton, Stowmarket v new team Cambridge University Press and Team Bury v Downham.