A win over Woodbridge Town on Saturday and 12 years of hurt are almost at an end for Stowmarket Town

Rick Andrews, Stowmarket boss

Rick Andrews, Stowmarket boss - Credit: Archant

Stowmarket Town are on the cusp of promotion back to the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division.

Should the Greens Meadow outfit beat Woodbridge Town at home on Saturday – although it is not mathematically guaranteed – it would take a string of outrageous results for them not to be back in the Premier Division come the start of next season – ending 12 years of hurt.

It was back in the 2004/05 season that Stowmarket suffered relegation from the Premier Division (along with Gorleston and Yarmouth).

Since then they have remained at Step Six – but that is all about to change.

For manager Rick Andrews, who has guided his team to just two league defeats all season so far,the day can’t come soon enough. But he is laid back enough to know it is not done until it is done.

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“Promotion was our aim at the start of the season and that is still our goal,” he said.

“To be honest winning the league would be great, but getting back up to the Premier Division has always been the main thing.

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“We had a great win at Coggeshall a couple of weeks ago, the team have been fantastic all year. Yes, if we beat Woodbridge promotion is not guaranteed, but they would have to win all their remaining fixtures and we lose all ours.”

Stowmarket have been hot favourites for a promotion place since the start of the season. They assembled some quality players in their squad who have done the business well for Andrews.

But he admits it’s the team ethic that has been so crucial to success this campaign.

“We have coped well with our favourites tag and there has always been a strong belief in the changing room that we could do this.

“Team-wise we gel, that’s been the key. The squad have embraced everything we have tried to do, rotate players for example, keeping everyone fresh.”

Woodbridge meanwhile are hoping Coggeshall or Haverhill Borough will slip up as they chase the two sides currently in the other two promotion positions.

Jamie Scales side have beem architects of their own downfall, losing games that perhaps should not have done.

“Woodbridge have enjoyed a great season and had a great win at Downham on Tuesday night,” Andrews added.

“It will be a tough game for us.”

Looking ahead to next season, Andrews doesn’t have a plan just yet – “let’s get this season out of the way first,” he admits.

However, Premier Division football is now on the horizon whether Stowmarket want to think about it or not.

“There actually has been no planning,” Andrews added.

“But my phone has been busy although there is a big desire for many of the current players to stick together. We will probably lose three or four for various reasons.

“Let’s get promotion, then let’s try and win the title. The Premier Division will offer us a bigger pond of players if we are there.

“We will be the new local kids on the block in the Premier.”

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