Gorleston manager Larter disappointed by summer exits
- Credit: Archant
Gorleston manager Stu Larter admits his side face a tough challenge to improve on last season's eighth place finish in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division.
The Greens enjoyed an impressive second half the campaign to climb up the table, with Larter eventually getting the team moving in right direction again after returning as manager last October.
But having created a good platform to build on in 2018-19 Larter has seen his plans disrupted by a string of summer departures and there will be a feeling of starting all over again on Saturday afternoon (3pm) when his side travel to Long Melford.
'When looking back on the summer my overwhelming feeling is one of disappointment if I am being honest,' said Larter.
'After a difficult start last season we finished really well to move into the top half of the table and everyone was feeling optimistic.
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'But from last season's squad of around 19 players there are only about eight or nine still at the club.
'A lot of players have left and most of them haven't moved on to a higher level of football, which makes it even more disappointing. You'll have to ask them why they decided to leave.
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'On a positive note we have brought some good players in ourselves, while there are some promising lads in our youth and reserve teams who will get a chance, but it is going to be difficult to pick up where we left off.
'If we matched what we did last season and finished in the top eight I would be very pleased.'
The close season departures have included Ismael Fatadjo and Danny Pinheiro (Lowestoft), Kyle Ingram (Caister), Isaac Burrage (Wroxham) and keeper Scott Foreman (Acle) while Jack Garrod's appearances are likely to be limited by work commitments.
Larter has been busy in the transfer market to replenish his resources and has brought in a new keeper in Tom Coombe from Walsham le Willows along with Jordan Cantwell (Fakenham), Ryan Fuller (Harleston), Jack Tipple (Diss), Jack Hood (Bradenham) and Nelson Carinhas (Waveney).
The manager has also been boosted by the decisions of strikers Ross Gilfedder and Joel Watts to remain at Emerald Park. Gilfedder scored 22 goals in 24 games last season following his switch from Wroxham while Watts also had a good season to take his career total for Gorleston up to 50.
Saturday's opponents Long Melford finished 16th last season, on the same number of points as Great Yarmouth.
The first home game comes on Tuesday night when Norwich United, who have come down from Bostik League Division One North, visit Emerald Park (7.45pm).
On August 11, there will be a coach going to the FA Cup match at Hullbridge. Seats are £10 each and can be booked on Tuesday, when season tickets will also be available.
The Greens finished their pre-season warm-ups last week with a 3-2 win at Waveney with the goals from Gilfedder (2) and Nelson Carinhas, whilst the Reserves lost 2-1 to Caister 2-1. Tomorrow the Reserves play another friendly at Stalham.