EXPECTATIONS are running high among the Wisbech Town fans as they kick off the Ridgeons League Premier Division campaign with Wivenhoe Town the visitors to the Elgood’s Fenland Stadium on Saturday.
But Wisbech will be without the excellent wing play on Saturday from Matty Lunn, who is on holiday for the first three games, and Lewis Thompson is doubtful with a knee injury.
A Ridgeons League Cup final win and fourth place in the league last season have buoyed the locals into thinking that the club can win their first league title since the 1991-92 season.
Manager Steve Appleby has brought in six new faces to bolster his squad after the departures of Callum Reed, Andy Furnell, Ash Stevens and Paul Cousins.
Striker Liam Nimmo has returned after five seasons and has been joined by defenders Simon Ashton and Neal Spafford plus midfielder Steven Reid from Chatteris Town.
It is perhaps Appleby’s latest two signings that give more belief to Wisbech being title contenders this season with former King’s Lynn striker Chris Bacon and goalkeeper Ryan Rayner helping to give an even more solid spine to the team.
There is no doubt Appleby’s hard work on the phone has paid off with some very good signings.
It is certainly a stronger looking squad than last season and there is more strength in depth too.
Appleby also has the emergence of youngsters Ollie Gale and Sam Murphy who have both done well enough in friendlies to put their names forward for a starting place this weekend.
But even the most ardent Wisbech fan would admit that the Fenmen have not been firing on all cylinders in the pre-season games and a defeat at March did not help. They lost 2-1 at Spalding on Saturday when Liam Nimmo scored from a huge clearance by Rayner.
And manager Appleby has his feet firmly on the ground when he commented: “It would be great to take another step and have a real go at the title. It is a big ask but it is important that we try to build on what we did last season.
“I felt we looked tired on Saturday and perhaps we crammed in too many friendlies. But sometimes you learn more from a defeat than a win.
“We will treat Wivenhoe just as any other game. They might not have done so well last season, but may have improved over the summer. The main thing is that we are prepared.”