MANAGER Paul Smith has set his sights on Walsham-le-Willows achieving their best-ever finish in the Thurlow Nunn League this season.

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Since winning promotion from what was then Division One of the Ridgeons League in 2006/07, Walsham’s highest finish has been tenth.

Walsham currently occupy eighth spot and Smith, whose side have not played since their gallant display in a 5-1 defeat to a strong Ipswich Town side in the John Banks Suffolk Premier Cup ten days ago, is targeting a possible top-eight finish.

He said: “We are out of all the cups now and will be looking to finish as high as we can in the league.

“If we play like we did after Christmas last season we can finish in the top eight or ten.

“We are only 11 points off the top of the table, and if we can stay within ten points of the top come Easter you never know what is going to happen.”

Smith, who was a prolific goalscorer for Felixstowe Town, Harwich & Parkeston, Woodbridge and most notably Sudbury Town during his Eastern Counties League career, said the opportunity to move up the non-league pyramid had benefited clubs such as Walsham.

“Since I was playing in the Eastern Counties League at least ten sides have moved up out of the league.

“As a result I think the league is getting weaker, but that gives clubs like us the chance to progress up the league.”

Indeed, since Walsham won promotion to the Premier Division, Soham Town Rangers, Lowestoft Town, Needham Market, Leiston and Wroxham have all moved up.

Before them AFC Sudbury, Braintree Town, Bury Town, Histon and Maldon Town (who have since merged with Tiptree United) all took advantage of the opportunity of Step 4 football.

Former Ipswich Town player Gavin Johnson, who has not played since mid-October and is expected to be out for several more weeks at least, will again be absent tomorrow as Walsham take on high-flying Hadleigh United at Summer Road in the fourth meeting of the two teams already this season.

They drew 1-1 at the Millfield last month in the FA Vase, with Hadleigh winning the replay at Walsham 2-0 after extra time.

They then met for a third time in 11 days when Hadleigh returned to Summer Road to win 3-2 in the Red Insure Cup.

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