Rick Andrews hopes another bumper crowd will flock to Greens Meadow to see his Stowmarket Town side aim to make it a perfect 10 when they take on promotion rivals Coggeshall Town tomorrow (3pm).
The Old Gold & Blacks have enjoyed a remarkable rise up the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division in recent weeks, winning their last nine league games to move up to second and into the promotion places.
Attendances are also on the up at Greens Meadow too, with a season-high of 239 flocking in to see Josh Mayhew’s late winner down Haverhill Rovers 2-1 last weekend.
The club are predicting that figure will be surpassed when third-placed Coggeshall — who now feature Stow’s promotion-winning captain Danny Cunningham — visit tomorrow (3pm).
But for Stowmarket boss Andrews, while success on the pitch in the last 18 months has been welcomed, he admits he never expected to see the gates increase as much as they have done.
“I remember speaking to my ex (assistant manager) Shane Coldron and he made some pretty bold statements,” Andrews said.
“He said Stow should be getting crowds of 200 to 300 and, hand on heart, I didn’t think it was possible.
“For me it’s about the football you play. Take last Saturday for example, had we drawn that game 1-1, which we could have done, I think people would have walked away and still said they enjoyed some good football.
“We’ve got games coming up against Felixstowe and Walsham next month, and for some of those games you’d like to think we could hit the 300 mark if we’re still competing.”
Stow’s winning run in all competitions came to an end on Tuesday night after losing 4-2 on penalties at Felixstowe & Walton United, in what was the club’s first appearance in the county’s Premier Cup competition since 2004.
With just the league left to focus on for the rest of the season, Andrews admits it would be ‘asking a lot’ for his Stow side to catch the Seasiders, who are 15 points clear at the top of the table.
“You’re asking a lot for them to lose a lot games and we’re already halfway through the season,” he said. “I think they’re home and dry and the other favourites (for promotion) are Coggeshall with the games in hand they’ve got.
“But we’re building stuff at Stow and if it takes a year or two longer than we hoped, so be it. As long as we’re moving forward, and I think we are.”
Stow only had 11 fit players for Tuesday’s Premier Cup defeat at Felixstowe, but Andrews is hoping to be boosted by the returns of captain Ollie Brown and Nathan Clarke this weekend.