Cuckoos confident they can confound the pundits again as the season starts for Yaxley, Stamford AFC, Spalding United and Wisbech Town

Yaxley FC (blue) in action.
Yaxley FC (blue) in action.
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Yaxley manager Andrew Furnell reckons the club’s second season as a step four club will be tougher than the first.

The Cuckoos performed creditably to finish 11th in Division One Central of the Southern League last season.

Yaxley play in front of the smallest crowds in the competition and have the smallest budget.

And from what Furnell has discovered the gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ has increased.

Yaxley could well get an indication of how tough life will be when hosting Halesowen Town, two-time FA Vase winners and a club used to gracing the higher levels of non-league football, at the Decker Bus Arena on Saturday (October 17, 3pm).

“There’s money everywhere,” Furnell said. “I’ve been beaten to players by clubs playing at a lower level than us because they can offer an extra £30 a week.

“That sort of problem is just a fact of life for us. We stick to our budget and try and attract younger players who want to play first-team football rather than sit on a substitutes’ bench.

“We can offer regular first-team football because we don’t carry a big squad.

“We surprised a few people last season with where we finished and the aim for this season is to make sure we consolidate and if we get in a position to attack the play-offs then we will have a go.

“We are keen to establish the club at this level. We want football of this standard to be the norm.

“Halesowen will be one of the favourites to win the league so it is a tough start.”

Furnell, a former Posh player, has returned to London Road to sign two of the club’s former youth team players, centre-back Frazer Garner and midfielder Cameron Gow.

The Cuckoos have also picked up another centre-back Cameron Baldock-Smith who was at the Doncaster Rovers Academy last season. Top players Matt Sparrow (Cambridge City), Sam Spencer (Wisbech Town) and Ollie Sutton (Wroxham) have all departed.

Stamford AFC, Spalding Town and Wisbech Town all start their Northern Premier League South East Division campaigns away from home on Saturday.

FIXTURES

Saturday, August 17

Southern League Premier Central: Tamworth v Peterborough Sports.

Division One Central: Yaxley v Halesowen Town.

Northern Premier League South East Division: Glossop North End v Stamford AFC, Sutton Coldfield Town v Spalding United, Wisbech Town v Leek Town.

United Counties League

Premier Division: Anstey Nomads v Holbeach United, Deeping v Quorn FC, Lutterworth Town v Peterborough Northern Star, Pinchbeck United v Harborough.

Division One: Blackstones v Burton Park Wanderers, Bourne v Wellingborough Whitworth, Whittlesey Athletic v Rushden & Higham.