FA Trophy winners York City are the visitors to The Meres tomorrow (Saturday) for a pre-season friendly with the new look Grantham Town.
York won the top non-league prize just a few months ago and are in the Oakham area for a pre-season training camp – so a competitive encounter is anticipated.
The Minstermen are now managed by former Gingerbreads favourite and player-manager Gary Mills, and a good turnout is expected for the fixture.
Grantham Town manager Adam Stevens welcomed the chance to test his new squad against good opposition, having had a warm-up game against Lincoln United and Lincolnshire County Senior Cup matches against Spalding United and Gainsborough Trinity (see below).
Stevens said: “We really appreciate Gary bringing his first team squad to The Meres as it is only a couple of games ago they were playing at Wembley in front of a very big crowd.”
Stevens was pleased with the way his new squad was shaping up and keen to see how they will fare against higher league opposition.
He said: “We currently have some talented new lads signed on to marry up with around 11 of last year’s squad, which is a great position to be in for mid-July. We are in a much better position than we were at this stage last year, so here’s hoping for a good start.
“Last season we started very slowly then, by November, got into a great groove. A better start this season and who knows where that could take us.”
Club chairman Roger Booth was equally optimistic about the club, on and off the pitch.
He said: “We know we have a good manager who is skilled at developing young players and so we are positive about our prospects this season. Off the pitch, we are moving in the right direction too, with a thriving Academy set-up, a great supporters club and a plan about to be implemented to improve the club’s infrastructure and financial future.”
With Nottingham Forest arriving in town next Friday for an eagerly awaited fixture, and Mansfield Town also at The Meres on Tuesday night, Gingerbreads fans can look forward to several good quality pre-season fixtures on their doorstep, leading up to the new season starting against Marine in August.
+ There will be no Lincolnshire County Senior Cup final for Grantham Town who narrowly lost to Gainsborough Trinity at Northolme on Thursday night.
Town went in front first when Curtis Burrows volleyed home on 25 minutes.
The home side equalised 11 minutes later with Jonathan Williams curling his 20-yard free kick around the Grantham wall, beating keeper Kieran Preston.
Trinity went ahead after half time when Nathan Stainfield headed home.
The Gingerbreads drew level in the 73rd minute, with Danny Meadows netting his second goal of the pre-season campaign.
The result was ultimately decided by a contentious handball decision.
Craig King’s shot struck Stafan Galinski on the hand and the referee adjudged it deliberate and awarded a penalty.
Nathan Jarman put the spot kick away with five minutes left on the clock, which did not give Grantham enough time to get back into the game.