The pre-season’s over, the talk is almost done, it’s now time for the Daniels to prove their worth in the division they were dramatically promoted to in May
Stamford AFC’s foray into the Evo-Stick Northern Premier Division begins at home against Frickley Athletic tomorrow following their play-off victory at the end of last season.
Daniels boss David Staff knows they are coming into the division as an unknown quantity so there is an opportunity to cause a few upsets.
Frickley finished fifth from bottom last season, but the finishing position masks a strong start they had last year which made them safe from the drop by January.
And Staff is not underestimating them or anyone else.
He said: “Frickley are one of the more fancied teams this year, they went from nothing to safety by January and they are probably looking to build on from that this season.
“They are probably very confident coming to us and both sides will be looking to get something from the game.
“We are an unknown quantity, we’ve come through the play-offs so it’s obvious that we’re not the biggest payers, money talks to some degree, but it’s our job to perhaps be a surprise and sometimes it’s nice to be the underdogs.”
The Daniels have had a mixed pre-season and ended with a 3-1 loss at home to Kettering Town on Saturday. Dan Lawlor grabbed a consolation for Stamford in the second half.
But Staff has been pleased with the performance and intensity shown by the squad.
Striker Jordan Hempenstall moved on to Coalville Town this week but the Daniels have signed Coalville’s top scorer last year, Ryan Robbins.
The striker scored 34 goals in 48 appearances in all competitions and looks to be the perfect foil for fellow striker Jordan Smith.
The Daniels have also confirmed the signing of former Conference League footballer Jon Challinor who has played in some of the pre-season fixtures.
Staff said of the start of the season: “It is something everyone has been looking forward to. We’ve played a group of friendlies and now we’re ready for the season.
“The supporters, the board, myself, the players, it’s something we can’t wait for.”
And when asked if staying up is the main goal, Staff admits it is a realistic aim but he always wants to be a bit more ambitious than that.
And with a move to a new stadium due to go ahead for next season, the Daniels will be keen to be playing Premier Division football for a while.
Staff said: “ The long term is not for me to say but the new ground and the facilities we will have will fit in nicely with that league.”
The Daniels were having a final training session last night and with no injury worries at the time of going to press, Staff hopes to have a full rota to choose from.
The Daniels play Frickley Athletic at Kettering Road tomorrow, kick off at 3pm.