St Ives Town is a club making huge progress off the pitch.
The club’s new scholarship programme is up and running and extensive work has been carried out to improve their ProEdge Westwood Road base following the arrival of higher-level club Cambridge City as tenants.
Now manager Ricky Marheineke is anxious to ensure Saints also continue to move forward on the pitch. Bettering a highly respectable ninth-placed finish last season in Southern League Division One (Central) - four places and 18 points off the play-offs – is the immediate aim.
Marheineke said: “I’m very happy with the way we have recruited. We have brought in players who are experienced and proven at this level and above.
“But, in a lot of cases, we have found ourselves replacing players in the squad rather than adding to it.
“We have lost two fantastic players in the Hall twins while Will Muzuimbiri has got himself a professional deal in Sweden.
“But I’m very pleased with how our preparations have gone and everyone is up for the challenge of building on last season.
“I’m confident we will have more goals in us this season and I also feel sure we won’t concede too many.
“We need to try to stay in touch with the play-off places for as long as possible and hopefully still have an interest after Christmas.
“I’d love a couple of good runs in the cups as well. The club has a strong tradition of doing well in the FA Vase in their Step 5 days and it would be nice to get through a few rounds in the FA Trophy.”
One-time England Schools international striker Danny Watson, classy winger Phil Draycott and defensive colossus Steve Gentle feature among Marheineke’s summer recruits. Full-backs Pat Bexfield (who played under Marheineke at Huntingdon) and Jordan Jarrold have also arrived.
St Ives begin the season by facing two newly-promoted teams.
They travel to Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division champions Kings Langley this Saturday before a Tuesday clash against United Counties League Premier Division title-winners AFC Rushden & Diamonds at ProEdge Westwood Road.
Marheineke has boosted his squad with the loan captures of St Neots Town youngsters Luis Vieira and Ebey Marango this week.
He has a number of players unavailable. Centre-back Charlie De’Ath is banned, fellow defender Jordan Lambert has university commitments and wideman Scott Sinclair has a pelvic problem.