Newmarket show their ambition with bid for promotion

LOOKING UPWARDS: Newmarket boss Kevin Grainger says the club are thinking about promotion
LOOKING UPWARDS: Newmarket boss Kevin Grainger says the club are thinking about promotion
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Newmarket Town have joined three other Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division clubs in applying for promotion this season to step four of the non-league pyramid.

Current runaway leaders and neighbours, Mildenhall Town, revealed their intention a few weeks back, while Stanway Rovers and Felixstowe & Walton United have also thrown their hats into the ring.

The Jockeys, who currently sit third in the table, are also keen, although manager Kevin Grainger has admitted that it may be a little too early for his club.

“You have to win the league to guarantee a chance of getting up, but second or third might sneak in,” he said.

“I am not saying we will definitely go up, but we have put in because it is where we would like to be in the next two years.

“You have to apply early (November 30) which puts a lot of teams off, but we have decided to go for it and will look at things in closer detail if and when we need to.”

Whenever the time comes for Newmarket to make their move up the pyramid, they have the luxury of some impressive facilities following the summer revamp at the Ridgeons Stadium.

As a result, further renovation work will be minimal to get the Cricket Field Road-based ground up to standard.

“We are an ambitious club and that shows with the great facility we have,” added Grainger.

“We are in a good position and will just need some turnstiles, a few extra seats and then some little jobs.

“There will be no big upheaval like some other clubs have to go through.”

On the pitch, Grainger’s men appear to have tightened up defensively in recent weeks.

In the league so far, Newmarket have shipped a hefty 36 goals, which is two more than Wivenhoe Town in 14th and four greater than 18th-placed Ely City have conceded.

And on top of that, Mildenhall, Stanway, Gorleston and Felixstowe — teams that sandwich Newmarket in the table — have let in 14, 24, 10 and 15 respectively.

Even so, in the last four outings in all competitions, goalkeeper Ben Nower’s net has been breached on only three occasions, and Grainger is hopeful that is a sign of things to come.

“We recruited a number of new players in the summer and it takes time for things to come together,” said the long-serving boss.

“There has also been the issue of having to change the back four so often for a number of reasons — that really has not helped.

“But thankfully things have settled down a bit and we are starting to click.

“We knew we would always score goals because of the number of chances we create.

“And now we look better defensively and that is as a team because it is not all about the back four.”

Newmarket face a test of their potential promotion credentials when they visit the side directly above them on Saturday — Stanway (3pm).

“We are playing well and will look to take the game to them because I believe we are the better footballing side,” said Grainger.

“We are going to need to physically stand up to the challenge, which I believe we can do.”