THE DANIELS will renew old rivalries and probably make new ones in a very competitive league next season after it was confirmed they would be staying in the Evo-Stik Division One South.
The Stamford club are pleased to have kept their place in the division following the restructure and boss Graham Drury says he is excited and motivated by the challenges ahead.
The new faces in the division include Halesowen Town, Gresley, Northwich Victoria, Chasetown and King’s Lynn.
Drury said: “It’s a good division and we know a lot about the teams already in it.
“It is good to have the continuity, we know what’s coming and know how teams play with the exception of the new ones.
“We’ve lost Grantham and Ilkeston but they have been replaced with clubs who no-one will be surprised if they are in the top three next year.
“With the new additions it’s going to be very competitive and we’ve got some very good new sides in there.
“Northwich isn’t far from Manchester which is an absolute hot-bed of football and so they will be very tough to play against.
“Halesowen are another good outfit and will be difficult.”
The clashes with King’s Lynn may stir a few emotions for Daniels fans.
The games against Lynn have in the past had something of a long-distance derby feel and, although the teams have not played league matches against each other for a few years, they are sure to be highly competitive.
Drury said: “The clubs have competed at the same level for a number of years and when they meet, even though they are quite far apart, they do have a local-derby type atmosphere.
“They get a good crowd at King’s Lynn and they are always competitive, so we’re looking forward to those games.”
Drury believes Belper Town will also be a side to watch under former professional player Peter Duffield. Duffield took over halfway through last season.
Drury said: “Now he’ll have a proper pre-season and get his own squad together, Belper will be ones to watch.”
The Daniels finished in seventh last year and Drury has ambitions for the club to be league champions this year. He is continuing to add to his squad.
This week, left-sided midfielder Jake Gibson, a former Lincoln City player, put pen to paper for the Daniels, moving from Lincoln United. Gibson played for the Daniels last year.
The new league is made up of: Belper Town, Brigg Town, Carlton Town, Chasetown, Coalville Town, Gresley, Halesowen Town, Hucknall Town, Kidsgrove Athletic, King’s Lynn Town, Leek Town, Lincoln United, Loughborough Dynamo, Market Drayton Town, Mickleover Sports, Newcastle Town, Northwich Victoria, Rainworth Miners Welfare, Romulus, Sheffield, Stamford, Sutton Coldfield Town.
l MORE than £12,600 has been raised for the Daniels this year thanks to the 300 Club.
The winners in the grand draw prize were: First prize (£1,000) Iain Forsythe; second prize (£700) Dale Farrow; third prize (£500) Mrs E Gackowski; fourth prize (£300) Roger Twiddy; fifth prize (£250) Ivan Curtis; sixth prize £200 58 Clive Stearn; seventh prize (£150) Luke Mills; consolation prize (£125) Dave Collins; consolation prize (£100) Peter Baker.
Organisers thank all who supported it.