GRANTHAM Town will face some familiar names next season following the annual shake-up of the Evo-Stik League Division One South.
Last week’s provisional announcement of next season’s opponents listed former Southern League foes Rugby Town and and Bedworth United. The Gingerbreads will also be joined by Hucknall Town who were relegated from the Evo-Stik Premier Division and Coalville Town who will come up from the Midland Football Alliance. Newly-created Ilkeston FC will make their new start in Grantham’s league.
The league confirmed Barwell and Rushall Olympic’s promotion and also relegation for Shepshed Dynamo and Spalding United.
Gingerbreads joint manager Wayne Hallcro said he was surprised at Ilkeston’s inclusion in the league but expected them to do well, and he said he expected strong opposition from Belper, Rugby and Bedworth also.
He said: “The division is likely to have eight to10 teams in with a very good chance of doing well. The division is very strong, looking at it. Teams will also know how strong they have to be to succeed and we will have to do our homework on them to do well ourselves.
“We need an additional two to four players to join the squad over the summer. We have started work on that already and it is going really well. We also need to make sure we look after the lads who are already here properly as well.”
Hallcro said he expected the opposition would be looking to find a way to disrupt Grantham’s method of play and plans would have to be set in motion to counter that. He said that he and fellow co-boss Jimmy Albans were still at odds to explain how the Gingerbreads have difficulty in getting the new season off to a good start.
Hallcro said: “We need to try to weld together the two finishes to the season that we have had. The six week break seems to have disrupted our momentum and we may start back earlier this season.
“We came to the club with a three-year plan of progressing each year. Our first season saw a higher finish from when we took over. Last season was higher again and this year we aim to go higher still. There has been superb support from everyone at the club over those seasons. The club’s philosophy has been right and we need to keep it right.”
The Gingerbreads will have a pre-season Lincs County Shield quarter-final at home to Spalding as well as friendlies with Lincoln Moorlands and Dunkirk.
Hallcro said: “We have a trip to Rhyl and are looking at a couple of league clubs to complete the list. Around five to six games will be the right number to keep a balance between playing and training.”