Grantham Town joint manager Gary Sucharewycz says confidence at the club is high as they go into their first match of the new season tomorrow.
The Gingerbreads travel to Ashton United on the back of a very successful pre-season that saw them win eight out of 10 friendly fixtures, along with a draw and a single slender defeat whilst fielding a side replete with under-18s. Highlights were victories over Grimsby Town, Lincoln City and Boston United.
Grantham’s final pre-season foray was at Skegness Town on Saturday where they won comfortably 6-1.
Four unanswered first half goals won the game, although Sucharewycz was disappointed to concede a late consolation goal to the home side.
The Gingerbreads were dominant from the start, a fifth minute corner led to nothing but, three minutes later, they were in front. The ball was played over the top of the Skegness defence for Greg Smith who calmly lifted the ball over the goalkeeper to put his side in front.
Gingerbreads keeper Dan Haystead had to be sharp on his toes to gather a deflected shot at the other end before Sam Purcicoe scored Grantham’s second from 25 yards.
Six minutes from half time, Grantham moved the ball well from back to front and added a third goal. Deon Meikle brought the ball out of defence and found Nathan Watson. He delivered a deep cross to Smith who headed it on for McGhee to turn into the net. Smith added his second goal on the stroke of half time.
Shortly after half time, Watson made it five for Grantham and joint boss Ian Robinson slid home a sixth.
Skegness scored a consolation goal two minutes from time when substitute keeper Jake Turner was tempted out of his area. He lost the race for the ball, leaving an empty net for the home striker.
The Gingerbreads will be missing four key players in their season opener at Ashton. In fact, front men Massiah McDonald and Karl Demidh will miss the first four games, Rhys Lewis is out for five and Kallum Smith will be back for selection for Tuesday’s home game against Worksop Town.
Despite the absences, Sucharewycz was unfazed and said it highlighted the squad’s strength in depth, in that there was still competition for the places left open.
Sucharewycz and Robinson also have available to them the services of ex-Gingerbread and former Lincoln City striker Gary King, currently at Brigg Town.
Sucharewycz said: “Gary King gives us the extra striking option we need early on and a great chance to look at a proven goalscorer. We needed some cover to keep our options open. Gary has scored goals wherever he has been and when we offered him the chance to come and play for us, he jumped at it.
“If he likes what he sees and we do also, it could become a longer term thing.”
Sucharewycz said the squad was looking sharp in training and they have been concentrating on shape and tactics with the Ashton game specifically in mind. The management duo have had people watching the Manchester side and think they know who their key men will be.
Sucharewycz said: “We are all looking forward to this game so much. We’ve been itching for it and the lads have all been ready for the last two weeks now. We have had a really positive pre-season, but we know that means nothing if we don’t do the right things once the season starts.
“There are pros and cons tostarting the season away from home. Going away doesn’t worry us. We know we can fight it out whenever we need to and play some great football too.
“We know there will be a good following go to Ashton and that they will be noisy and get behind the team. At times that makes it like a home game.
“We know we have a tough start to the season, with playing three of the favourites in the first half a dozen games, but are confident.”
Kick-off at Ashton United tomorrow is 3pm, and 7.45pm at The Meres for Grantham’s first home match against Worksop Town on Tuesday evening.