Region’s non-league boys are back in town as friendlies get underway
- Credit: Archant
Less than two months after the semi-professional scene shut down for the summer, non-league football is back with a bang this evening.
Gorleston beat Wroxham in the Norfolk Senior Cup final on Thursday, May 15, but much has changed at Emerald Park since that memorable evening for the Greens at Carrow Road.
Stewart Larter left his position to take over at higher-level Wroxham leaving Richard Daniels to return to the post of a club he holds close to his heart. With a host of players following Larter to Trafford Park, Gorleston's 'new' chief has had to work hard to rebuild the side's squad.
And fans will get the first chance to see a glimpse into their renaissance when they kick-start their pre-season preparations by welcoming Conference new-boys Lowestoft Town across the Norfolk/Suffolk border.
The Trawlerboys have endured an upheaval of their own since the part-time game ground to a halt in May. Not only have they been promoted to Step Two of the non-league pyramid, but they have endured the most painful of geographical switches.
The Ryman Premier Division play-off winners – at the fourth time of asking – were told to start planning for a 2014/15 campaign in their preferred Conference South set-up. Yet, their best laid plans were shot to pieces when Hereford United's expulsion set in motion a chain of decisions which saw Lowestoft shifted into the Conference North.
Micky Chapman, Ady Gallagher and Craig Fleming's troops have had time to get used to the decision mind and will now be keen to impress as they gear up for the biggest season the beautiful game has offered to the Crown Meadow faithful.
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Tonight also sees two other fixtures – one which will certainly excite many in the west of the county and into nearby Cambridgeshire.
Fierce rivals Wisbech Town welcome Step Three King's Lynn Town as the well-supported outfits lock horns for the third summer on the bounce.
The last two friendlies, of sorts, saw the Fenmen triumph 4-1 at Lynn (2012) before the pair drew 1-1 in the return last year. With bragging rights at stake, expect more fierce tackles this evening – especially as the Linnets look to gear up for their customary mammoth festivity of friendlies.
Down the road at Thetford Town, Mark Scott's Thurlow Nunn Premier Division outfit get their summer fun underway by welcoming Robbie Back's progressive Almary Green Anglian Combination Premier Division outfit Dersingham Rovers.
A host of the area's other clubs also get their plans underway this week with Diss Town, Great Yarmouth Town, Dereham Town and Swaffham Town playing for the first time this summer.
But the biggest game arguably comes at Dereham's Aldiss Park ground on Saturday when the Magpies welcome Norfolk's biggest side of all – Championship new-boys Norwich City who will be keen to bounce back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.