OAKHAM United are all set for their first ever competitive league game today and know it will be tough from the start.
The newly-formed club with big ambitions are taking on title holders Ramsey Town in the Peterborough and District League Premier Division
And on Wednesday they will face local rivals Uppingham.
Oakham United vice-chairman Alistair Forbes says it is an exciting moment.
“The club is looking forward to the challenge,” he said.
Oakham have played three friendlies in the past week They lost 7-3 to Stanion United; 2-1 to Barrowby on Saturday and suffered a 5-3 defeat against Corby Pegasus on Wednesday night.
The clash against Corby proved a physical affair.
Oakham joint manager Pat Johnson said: “Corby were quite a physical side and turned up with about 18 lads. We had about 14 and while it wasn’t a bad performance, the defence needs a bit of work.”
New signing Chris MacRoyal, who has switched from Blackstones, scored twice and Eddie McDonald scored the other for Oakham.
Of Ramsey, Johnson said: “We’ve heard they have lost a few players so it may be the best time to play them.”
United were due to play Alconbury tomorrow but that was rearranged and the new fixture revealed on Wednesday.
Johnson now needs to work with fellow manager Andy Saddington on finalising their starting 11.
Next Wednesday’s game against Uppingham, seasoned performers in the Premier Division, will show Oakham exactly where they are up to.
Uppingham’s pre-season has not gone as smoothly as they would have liked.
A couple of matches were cancelled but they had a good run-out against Cottesmore on Tuesday, winning 7-3.
Town boss Richard Kendrick said the derby would be just another game.
“We haven’t got far to travel so that’s a bonus. We’ll see what they’ve got.
“They’ve merged two clubs so they should have a good side.”
Uppingham play Coates Athletic away today.
The Rutland side have retained their squad from last year but may get off to a slow start.
The lack of more pre-season games means fitness levels may not be where they should be.
Kendrick said: “Pre-season has not been as good as it was last year.
“We’ve had a couple of games called off, players have not been available, one or two injuries. We’ve had a couple of run-outs but training has been poorly supported,
“It may take a little while to get to full strength”