While it would appear Mildenhall Town are much more likely than Newmarket Town to be plying their trade a level higher next season, the neighbouring clubs have both been busy getting their respective grounds up to Step Four standard.
In recent days, Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division title-chasing Mildenhall have moved a step closer to securing promotion into the Ryman Isthmian League, both on and off the pitch.
Saturday’s 2-1 win at Kirkley & Pakefield has left Dean Greygoose’s men needing a maximum of 10 points to clinch the main prize, while an inspection by Ryman League and Football Association representatives yielded positive results.
Hall were informed in November that their Recreation Way base needed £30,000 worth of improvements to meet the requirements of higher-level football and that work has now been completed, prompting the two officials to recommend Mildenhall’s bid for promotion should be accepted, providing they go on to win the league. The situation has now been left in the hands of the The FA to rubber stamp the paperwork.
“The players and I still have a job to do between now and the end of the season, but it is pleasing to know everything else is ready,” said Mildenhall boss Dean Greygoose.
“A lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes that other people do not see.
“Since I came to the club, they have got my way of thinking and vice-versa. We have a good understanding.
“We are close, but the job has to be finished on the pitch.
“With the cup final against Newmarket to come as well, hopefully this will end up being some of the best few weeks in the club’s history.”
The Jockeys, meanwhile, have also been working towards a potential future within the greater echelons of the non-league pyramid.
External toilets, new seating and an extra turnstile are all due to have been installed before tomorrow’s deadline, with their inspection set to take place on Saturday prior to the home encounter against Haverhill Rovers (3pm).
Only the team that finishes top is guaranteed promotion, meaning third-placed Newmarket — 13 points adrift of Mildenhall — will probably have to wait at least another 12 months.
Nevertheless, they have decided to get The Ridgeons Stadium up to scratch now, just in case either a restructuring of the division or teams being relegated into the Thurlow Nunn League opens up the door.
“We accept Mildenhall are in prime position, although we will not give up until it is mathematically over on that front,” said Newmarket secretary Graham Edwards. “It is likely only one team will be going up, but we want to be ready in case an opportunity opens up. Kevin (Grainger, manager) deserves a lot of credit because he has been doing a lot of the work. A big effort has gone in to getting us ready.”