Mildenhall Town manager Christian Appleford believes Diss Town’s ‘superstars’ are the favourites for Saturday’s opening game of the season.
Hall’s chief has played down his team’s chances at the start of the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division campaign, despite admitting their aim is to break into the top three.
Eight players have been added to Appleford’s squad over the summer — including midfielder Tom Trevivian from Woodbridge Town and ex-Team Bury striker Jack Minns this week — but he believes bigger-spending sides will start the season with the pressure on them.
“Gorleston and Brantham are going to be strong,” said the former Stowmarket Town manager. “Hadleigh, on paper, had a great squad at the end of last year and they have strengthened.”
No team in the league has been busier though than Diss Town, who narrowly avoided the bottom three last term.
Richard Daniels has assembled a strong squad at Brewers Green Lane — including highly-rated former AFC Sudbury midfielder Rhys Darg and ex-Needham Market winger Danny Thrower — so Appleford is looking forward to pitting his side against the Norfolk outfit.
“Diss should be the favourites for the game with all the superstars they have signed,” he said. “The pressure will be on them.”
Winger Ben Coe has impressed in pre-season since signing from Norfolk Junior Cup finalists Mundford, while Newmarket Town pair Ricky Cornish and Aaron Turner, former Bury Town midfielder Craig Nurse, ex-Cambridge City player Ben Amery and Ryman One North-winning former Leiston goalkeeper Louis Johnson have all entered Recreation Way.
However, the club have made no move to replace last season’s top scorer Andrew Wood — who left towards the end of last season and has since joined Walsham-le-Willows — with Appleford preferring his side to produce goals from all over the pitch instead.
“I’d rather have three or four players get 15 than one get all the goals,” said the Mildenhall College teacher, who had current Bury Town forward John Sands bang the goals in for his side before two great seasons from Wood.
“I’m certain Ben Coe and Kris Thomas will get goals and we also have Steve Holder, Aaron Turner and Craig Nurse there as well.”
Holder will miss the start of the season after undergoing a hernia operation a fortnight ago, while Alex Steed and Michael Harvey are away, but expected back for Tuesday’s opening home game of the season against Godmanchester Rovers (7.45pm).
Hall ended their pre-season with a 1-0 defeat to Ryman One North outfit Soham Town Rangers on Saturday and a 4-0 win at Kershaw Premier League club West Wratting on Tuesday with goals from Kris Thomas (two), Allicion Blake and Dave Cooper.