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Bourne Town boss gives players a challenge after Zak Munton makes Melton Town move

Bourne boss Rob Middleton has thrown down the gauntlet to his squad to step up to the challenge of replacing top scorer Zak Munton.

Munton has left the JJ Mac Stadium to join United Counties League Division One rivals Melton Town for the coming campaign.

The marksman netted 31 times in 40 games for the Wakes last season and Middleton is now looking for someone to step forward and fill Munton's shooting boots.

Zak Munton (13640752)
Zak Munton (13640752)

Middleton said: "I was aware of Melton's interest and Zak was honest with me about it.

"They put an offer on the table for him which we can't compete with and that is fair enough.

"I am a little bit disappointed that he has left us for a club at the same level. I always thought that when Zak did move on he would go to a higher standard.

"But I do wish him all the best and, if things don't work out, then the door will always be open for him to come back.

"He's been a big player for us. He scored 30-plus goals last season, but life goes on.

"He has played in a side which has created enough chances for him to score 30 goals so the opportunity is there for someone to step forward and take that number nine shirt.

"We drew 13 games last season and everyone missed enough chances in front of goal in those games to turn the draws into wins which was difference between us finishing 13th or in the top six or seven.

"We have got people coming through the ranks and irons in the fire so it is up to someone to take the opportunity."

pre-season friendly between Pinchbeck United and Bourne Town at Pinchbeck (13640810)
pre-season friendly between Pinchbeck United and Bourne Town at Pinchbeck (13640810)

Bourne are in action at the JJ Mac Stadium for the first time this pre-season on Saturday when they host Lincoln City's Academy in the semi-final of the inaugural South Kesteven Cup (kick-off 3pm).

It will be Bourne's second outing of pre-season after a 3-0 away defeat at United Counties League Premier Division side Pinchbeck United last Friday.

Middleton added: "It was a very good exercise for us.

"Pinchbeck probably hadn't quite done as much as us so far in pre-season and we looked a little bit fitter in the first half.

"I was really pleased with the first half. It was a massive step forward from our inter-club game the previous week.

"Lewis Russell hit the underside of the bar with a shot and we set our stall out with our shape in the first half. It was very good and we created a few more half chances.

"We changed things around in the second half and the three goals that we conceded were all avoidable so I was quite happy with it overall.

"There were a lot of positives to take out of the Pinchbeck game and we'll be ready to go again on Saturday.

"We'll be in the best shape we can be for the Lincoln game. Their players are all attached to a League One club so it's going to be a very good test for us.

"But we'll be treating it like a league game and as if we're playing for points because there is a reward of reaching a cup final.

"It will also be the first time we have graced the pitch this season and, because of all the committee's hard work, it's in fantastic condition."

The winners of Saturday's semi-final will face Harrowby United or Grantham Town in the final next weekend. The two defeated teams will clash in a play-off for third place.

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