THETFORD Town assistant manager Kevin O’Donnell believes his side are more than capable of challenging in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division after holding last season’s champions Wroxham to a goalless draw.
In a less-than-spectacular affair at Munford Road, the Brecklanders enjoyed the clearer of the opportunities with Nathan Szyszlyk going closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half, striking the woodwork after a smart cutback by Craig Skipp, while Steve Harley and Tom Cusack both forced Andrew Plummer into making smart saves after the break.
New recruits Tom Dew and Kieran Morphew, both arriving on season-long loans from Needham Market’s apprentice scheme, as well as former Mildenhall Town midfielder Kyle Parish, featured in the match, with Morphew particularly impressing in the holding midfield role vacated by departed club captain Sean O’Donnell, who has been called to duty with the Royal Air Force.
Assistant O’Donnell revealed there may be one or two more arrivals over the coming weeks and after matching the Yachtsmen over 90 minutes, he is confident the current squad will be doing more than just making up the numbers as they prepare to make the step up.
“It was pleasing to see that we could compete well against the champions of the league we will be in next season,” he said.
“That will give us something to build on, we can hold our heads high and I am happy with that.
“Tom, Kieran and Kyle all played well and they should all help drive the squad on this season.
“There are a couple more players that we are looking to sign but apart from that I think we are about 99 per cent there, and we should definitely be a competitive side next year.”
Meanwhile, league rivals Walsham-le-Willows could be set to make their second signing of the close season with manager Paul Smith hopeful of adding Tom Agricole to his ranks.
The defender, formally of Felixstowe and Walton United, featured in their goalless draw with Ryman League Division One North side AFC Sudbury at Summer Road earlier this week, impressing on the left-hand side.
The 24-year-old has also been training with other clubs and despite conceding a deal has not been reached as yet, Smith remains hopeful of securing his signature.
“By all accounts played extremely well,” he said. “He has been training with other clubs but has come along to see our set up and what we have to offer.
“His main strength is his pace and that is exactly what we need at the moment.
“He hasn’t agreed to join us yet but hopefully there is a chance of us signing him.”
Elsewhere, Stowmarket Town suffered defeat in their first pre-season match, going down 3-1 at Brantham Athletic.
This week’s friendlies
Tonight (7.45pm): Diss Town v Bury. Tomorrow (3pm unless stated): Kirkley & Pakefield v Needham Market, Lakenheath v Mildenhall Town, Capel Plough v Stowmarket Town (2.30pm), Walsham-le-Willows v Grundisburgh. Tuesday (7.45pm unless stated): Mildenhall Town v Bury Town, Diss Town v Needham Market, Stowmarket Town v Ipswich Valley Rangers, Cranes Sports v Team Bury (6.15pm at Ransomes Sports). Wednesday (7.15pm): Walsham-le-Willows v Debenham LC.