Langtoft United Football Club are fired up for the biggest challenge in their history with the start of their debut season in the Peterborough and District League Premier Division on Saturday.
The village side know they will be some people’s favourites to go straight back down after last season’s historic promotion, but they are confident of causing a few upsets as they aim to establish themselves in the top division.
And the Vikings won’t have to wait long to try to ruffle a few feathers as their opening six games in August include fixtures against last season’s league runners-up Netherton United, PFA Senior Cup holders ICA Sports and local rivals Deeping Rangers Reserves.
The derby, on 26 August, will take on added spice as a number of last season’s Rangers squad have moved to Langtoft during the summer.
Those additions and others, plus the fact last year’s Vikings squad has been kept together, give manager Phil Gadsby confidence that his team can enjoy a strong debut season.
Gadsby said: “I’ve been really impressed with our pre-season preparations, the commitment from the lads has been superb.
“We’ve trained hard and put in some really good performances in our friendlies. Competition for places is really fierce at the minute and everyone seems to be upping their game.
“I’m really happy with how we are shaping up.”
The first team will be supported by a reserve side competing just a division below after they also secured promotion last season, although squad depth will be tested to the maximum as they also face six games before the end of August.
Gadsby, who will be assisted again by James Goode, added: “It’s a really exciting time for everyone at the club with both teams competing in new divisions this season.
“From my perspective I’m looking forward to testing myself at the highest level and each week will bring about a different challenge.
“It’ll be hard work and I think many people would class us as relegation candidates but we are an unknown entity and are very capable of springing a few surprises in this league.
“We’ll be looking to follow the example set by teams like Riverside, Sawtry and Stilton in previous seasons who have all made that step up.”
The first team kick off on Saturday at 2pm with a visit to Manor Way by Peterborough Sports Reserves. Langtoft then visit Oakham United on the following Wednesday.
The reserves visit AFC Stanground on Saturday before entertaining village neighbours Baston four days later.