Grantham Town face Manchester’s United in season opener

GRANTHAM Town have received a peach of a fixture for their first game of the season.

The Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division fixtures were released on Monday when the Gingerbreads found they had drawn FC United of Manchester at home in their season opener on August 18.

With FC United renowned for their large travelling support, the fixture is likely to attract what might turn out to be the season’s highest attendance at The Meres and will be a great way for newly-promoted Division One South champions Grantham to kick off the season.

Play-off runners-up the last two seasons, FC United are the team that was formed in 2005 by disgruntled Manchester United supporters following the takeover of the club by American businessman Malcolm Glazer.

Based in Bury, Greater Manchester, the club has gone from strength to strength since its formation and last season had an average home game of just less than 2,000. Internet forums suggest that FC United could bring anything from 500 to 1,000 supporters for their first visit to The Meres.

Joint Town manager Jimmy Albans recognised that the match would be a tough proposition but one that he relished.

Albans said: “The opening fixture is superb. When you win promotion, you do it for games like FC United; they are the ones you want to be involved in. That game gives us a focus to take us through to August 18.

“It will show us exactly where we are and how good these players really are. Up against the play-off finalists from the last two seasons and the pre-season favourites is a right test.

“We could hardly have been given a tougher start. The first four games are all against fancied sides. We expect to go out and compete and give a good account of ourselves in every game.

“We know we won’t win as many as the last two seasons, but we will take the same mindset into all games, expect to win and focus on that.”

The Gingerbreads drew their first pre-season friendly 3-3 at Quorn on Saturday and then defeated an under-strength Lincoln City 3-0 at The Meres on Wednesday night.

Grantham are back at The Meres tomorrow (Saturday) when they face Brigg Town in the Lincolnshire Senior Shield. Victory for cup holders Grantham would set up a tie at Gainsborough Trinity on August 11.

Albans said: “Brigg gives us a chance to get the system right in a competitive game. We need to be in the right mindset to ensure we have a game against Gainsborough. We are the holders of the shield and we want to win it again.”