Thetford Town boss expecting Ridgeons League promotion push

Thetford Town manager Mark Scott admitted he will be 'bitterly disappointed' if the new Ridgeons League First Division season does not end with a promotion push.

With the release of the 2011-12 fixture list, Town are aiming to top their fifth place finish last season – the club's best campaign since 1996.

As is customary for Town, three away games will kick things off to allow for the end of the cricket season, with an opening Saturday trip to Long Melford on August 13, before the derby with Swaffham Town three days later.

Halstead Town complete the trio on Saturday, August 27, before Thetford make their home bow against Fakenham on the following Tuesday.

Swaffham boss Paul Hunt believes their near-neighbours will be in with a serious shout for honours next season – and Scott likes the sound of that.

'It' nice of Paul to say that, certainly, and I'm pleased people are starting to think that way,' said Scott. 'After what we achieved last season maybe people will be looking at us as possibly one of the favourites and I'd hope we are.

'We have retained the majority of our squad from last season, a couple of additions as well, so we're looking strong. We have had a couple of really decent games in pre-season, we narrowly lost 2-1 to Wroxham and then beat Needham Market 1-0.

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'They are great results and I know it's pre-season and people will say maybe they didn't have their strongest teams out, but equally we had players missing and Needham's team was a very strong team.

'So I'm very optimistic about the season. Until we see what others have done and what they have got it's very difficult, we can only look at what we've got at the moment – but I'm very confident with our squad.

'I would be bitterly disappointed if we're not up right up there at the end of the season. My goal is promotion and with there only being two places this season, we've got to either win it or come up a very close second.'

The summer's big loss will be experienced centre-back Dave Richards – softened by the arrival of Tom Kusack, Dan Morphew and Alex Degraca.

'It will be interesting to see Long Melford this season because they looked a stronger outfit towards the end of last season,' added Scott. 'It will be interesting to see who they have kept and what kind of team they have got really.

'Hand on heart, I'd really be looking for nine points from those first three games. Swaffham is never an easy place to go because of the local rivalry and everything else, but if we're not winning those games then we are going to find it very difficult to be in that top spot at the end of the season.'