St Ives Town boss Ricky Marheineke is relishing a series of stern promotion tests to see out 2015 and bring in 2016.

Saints face the two teams currently above them in the Southern League Division One (Central) standings and two other sets of promotion hopefuls during a daunting five-match run.

It starts with the visit of Egham to ProEdge Westwood Road tomorrow (3pm) when Father Christmas will be on hand to dish out free presents to young fans.

The tough spell also includes a Boxing Day trip to Royston ahead of early January visits to joint leaders AFC Rushden & Diamonds and Chalfont.

Marheineke, whose side have put together an eight-match unbeaten run, said: "It is going to be an incredibly tough run, but they are the sort of big games that everyone should want to be involved in.

"I will be very happy if we can emerge from this run with our unbeaten run still intact, but they are not going to define our season in December and January."

A home date against bottom-half side Bedford on January 2 provides the only respite for Saints. That match has been earmarked as a comeback date for influential midfield injury victims Luke Knight and Jack Higgs.

Saints drew 1-1 at Northwood last Saturday when a Danny Watson opener was quickly cancelled out by the hosts.

Latest signing Scott Joseph made his Saints debut in that game. The striker has arrived from AFC Rushden & Diamonds.

Marheineke was a relieved man when Saints' trip to Bedfordshire side Barton Rovers was postponed last night (Tuesday).

He would have been without goalkeeper Tim Trebes and defender Harry O'Malley due to illness while Jared Cunniff had been held up at work.