MANAGER Steve Appleby believes everything is in place for Wisbech Town to make a real Thurlow Nunn League title challenge this season.
His two signings last week Dubi Ogbonna and Rogan McGeorge has given him a first team squad of 17 players and it is very unlikely that he will add to that squad now before the season starts on August 4.
After finishing fourth in the league in the last two seasons there is already a buzz around Wisbech that this could be the season they win the title and book a promotion place.
Appleby also shares the same faith and commented: “We have been building our way up in the last two seasons for this. I think now I have everything in place with a squad capable of challenging for the title and I have to keep them all happy.
“I told the chairman this week that you need a squad of 17 players to achieve this. Clubs like Wroxham, Leiston and Needham Market had that in the last three years.
“We now have competition for places in parts of the team. We look strong at the back, have good competition in midfield and have three good strikers too.
“Now it is up to the players, Chris Dear, Darren Jimson and myself to produce the goods on the pitch. The players are really buzzing for the start of the season and believe they can do it and so do I.”
The Fenmen begin their preseason friendlies this week with a trip to Sleaford tomorrow night, but the game that has given players and fans a real buzz is Saturday’s encounter with King’s Lynn at the Walks.
It will be the first time the two teams have met since 2004 and there is so much local pride at stake although the game is billed as a “friendly”.
Appleby made sure his players are ready for a bit of endurance when he took them to Bawsey Pits on Saturday for some running and they had to do it in the pouring rain.
It will certainly be a good test for Appleby’s newly assembled squad, but he was keen to point out: “It’s one I want to win to save face and for the fans too but the result of this game will not determine our season. As far as Gary and myself are cocerned it is another friendly but a competitive one which is what you want at this stage.
“It will be a great game for both sets of fans and the players are really looking forward to it too. But I will be trying to use as many players as possible in it.”
It will certainly be a special occasion for Paul Cousins, Callum Reed and Chris Bacon who were all on Lynn books previously. Reed may come in for some stick from the home fans having returned to Wisbech without playing a league game for them. Alex Street and Jordan Yong are former Wisbech players in the Lynn squad.
Anthony Reeve, who has had the summer away from cricket to rest is groin, is back training and Appleby said: “Reevo is going to give it a try and providing there is no reaction should be fine.”
Although Soham players Scott Carter, who was with Wisbech for a short spell two seasons ago, and Dan Cotton trained with Wisbech last week but Appleby will not be adding them to his squad.
Wisbech play their third friendly at Spalding next Tuesday night 7.45pm.