The curtain goes up on the 2023/24 PitchingIn Southern League Premier Division Central season on Saturday as St Ives Town host Mickleover at the Quattro-Tech Westwood Road.
It was back at the end of April that the Ives last saw competitive action as they saw out the season with a defeat at Nuneaton. That match turned out to be something of a non-event as The Ives had thankfully secured their status in the division the week before courtesy of victory at home to Bedford.
Since then, manager Ricky Marheineke has added a few new faces but most of the squad from last season remain. Supporters’ player of the year, Jordan Williams will once again be a key part of the squad as he will be part of a back four that will also include Jonny Herd who scooped the Managers Player of the Year last season. Top scorer Jonny Edwards also returns, and all eyes will be on him to see if he can repeat his scoring exploits from the previous campaign.
Joining the St Ives squad are midfielder Fernado Bell-Toxtle who arrives from Royston. Tiago Nassunculo looks like he will be adding extra pace following his switch from Barwell. Goalkeeper Eddie Brearey comes in on loan from Oxford United whilst Brandon Njoku and Dan Barton are loaned from Cambridge United. Meanwhile Aaron Smith joins from St Neots to strengthen the midfield options. Pre-season form for the Ives has been decent, and they rounded off their preparations for the new campaign last Saturday with a 2-2 draw at Hendon.
The league this season…..
As usual, there will be new teams in this division this season. AFC Telford United, Leamington and Kettering will be looking for an immediate return to the National League North following their relegation. AFC Sudbury, Long Eaton United, Halesowen, Stamford and Berkhamsted either make their debuts or return to this level after winning promotion last season.
Mickleover arrive having narrowly missed out on a play-off berth. They finished sixth last season and will be hoping to get off to a good start. They have strengthened over the summer and include two strikers who have been added to their squad. Andre Wright signed from Stratford Town whilst former Southampton forward Marcus Barnes could be one to look out for.
Ives team news…..
The Ives have had no further match action since last Saturday, but manager Ricky Marheineke has concerns over the fitness of striker Jonny Edwards who missed the back end of pre-season through injury. Fellow striker Brandon Njoku is on standby to make his debut whilst Eddie Brearey could be the preferred choice in goal.
Kick-off at Westwood Road is at 3:00pm.
Matchday Admission Prices…..
Adults – £11
Concessions (Over 65) £8
Military Discount (with ID Card) – £5
Students (With ID Card) – £5
U16’s to 12 – £2
U12’s – Free (Accompanied with an adult)