RYMAN LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION: Leiston targeting the play-offs following addition of experience, while stabilised Bury Town are looking forward to a new era

PUBLISHED: 11:46 18 July 2014 | UPDATED: 12:13 18 July 2014

Former Ipswich Town player Scott Mitchell has moved from AFC Sudbury to Leiston

Former Ipswich Town player Scott Mitchell has moved from AFC Sudbury to Leiston

James Ager

The Ryman League Premier Division fixtures for the 2014/15 season were announced yesterday. STUART WATSON spoke to Leiston manager Steve Ball and Bury Town chairman Russell Ward about their hopes for the new campaign.

LEISTON

Last season: 9th

Key signings: Scott Mitchell (AFC Sudbury), Cliff Akurang (Bishop’s Stortford), Tom Bullard (Bury Town)

Manager Steve Ball said: “I think we missed a bit of leadership at key moments last season and now, with Tom Bullard, Cliff Akurang and Scott Mitchell, we’ve addressed that. “I’ve got a squad of about 17 really good senior players and have some good up-and-coming youngsters to supplement that.

“Richard Wilkins (former Bury Town boss) is arguably our best signing of them all. Some outsiders probably raised their eyebrows when they saw him come here as assistant to a younger and less experienced non-league manager, but he wanted a fresh challenge and knew me and a lot of the boys.

“This is my first close season as a manager and I’ve been blown away by what some of the players have asked for in terms of wages. I honestly thought some of them were joking when they told me what they’d been getting elsewhere and what they expected. We’re not a club that’s going to get involved in silly offers, all we can do is try to sell our ambition and the personnel we have.

“Margate are spending obscene amounts of money, Maidstone are really going for it and Kingstonian have got a massive squad. We won’t have the biggest budget in the league, or the biggest crowds, but I’ll be disappointed if we are not in contention for the play-off places.”

For Leiston’s full fixture list click here

BURY TOWN

Last season: 15th

Key signings: Remi Garrett (Ipswich Wanderers), Jack Brame and Nathan Clarke (Walsham-le-Willows)

Key departures: Tom Bullard (Leiston), Danny Cunningham (Needham Market)

Chairman Russell Ward said: “Richard (Wilkins) was here for 14 years, he did really well, but Ben (Chenery) has come in with a lot of enthusiasm and everyone has bought into his plan for attacking and exciting football.

“Everyone is raring to go. This feels like a fresh start and a new era for the club.

“We produced good young players for years and years, we then moved away from that and caught a cold. It’s time we now got back to basics. A lot more clubs are now going down the route of academies and college link-ups, but West Suffolk College is well-established and we have to sell that to young players.

“We don’t owe anyone any money, there is no overdraft, so it’s a blank canvas. We won’t have the biggest budget in the league, but I am sure we can compete.

“There is no pressure or expectations on Ben. It would be nice to have a little run in the FA Cup, but the main thing is to simply consolidate. The aim will be to retain our league status.”

For Bury Town’s full fixture list click here

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