NON-LEAGUE: Whittlesey are excited by a journey into the unknown

Daniel French in action for Whittlesey.
Daniel French in action for Whittlesey.

Manager Andy Lodge and his Whittlesey Athletic wonders are ready for their journey into the unknown.

Whittlesey have the honour of kicking off the United Counties League One season with a Division One match at Long Buckby tonight (July 29).

It’s Whittlesey’s first season at this level and the opening fixture is part of the popular ‘ground-hopper’ weekend, a series of matches attended by non-league football fans from all over the country.

Lodge’s lads earned their place in the higher level after finishing second in last season’s Peterborough Premier Division.

“We have lost 10 games out of over 100 in the last three league seasons so we deserve our shot at the UCL,” Lodge stated. “And I’m proud to say that the team will be mostly Whittlesey lads who have been with us in that time.

“I haven’t lost a single player and they all deserve a shot at a higher level. I may have to adjust things as the season goes on, but we are prepared and ready for the challenge.

“Long Buckby were sixth last season so it’s a tough start for us, but we have nothing to lose. We are the newboys who will play without pressure.

“As it’s a ground-hopper game we should play in front of a decent-sized crowd which we will enjoy.”

Whittlesey have made five additions to last season’s squad with former Moulton Harrox pair Billy King and Ian Bradbury and ex-Posh pair Gareth Jelleyman and Daniel French all signing on. Winger Ton Flatters has moved across from Netherton United.

King has dual-signed with Harrox so his availability might be limited.

Whittlesey won their final friendly 2-1 at ICA Sports last weekend with Jack Bates and Flatters on target.

Fellow UCL Division One side Bourne are also in ‘ground-hopper’ action this weekend as they travel to Bugbrooke St Michael on Sunday (July 31).

March open their Thurlow Nunn Division One season at home to newcomers Wisbech St Mary on Tuesday (August 2).