Golden promotion opportunity after change of rules in Thurlow Nunn Division One

Ipswich Wanderers manager Glenn Read.

Ipswich Wanderers manager Glenn Read. - Credit: Archant

Two of Ipswich’s leading non-league clubs have been handed a golden opportunity to secure promotion following a crucial change to the wording of the rules.

Ipswich Wanderers and Whitton United have been stuck in Division One of the Thurlow Nunn League for the last five and six seasons respectively.

Previously only the top three teams could be promoted, but crucially the wording of that rule has now changed so that the top three ‘eligible’ clubs will go up.

It means that if a reserve team finishes in the top three (FA rules state second string sides cannot go higher than step six), or a team whose ground does not meet the required standards for the Premier League, then their spot will simply be passed down the table.

Wanderers finished fourth and Whitton seventh last season – and those sort of placings could be enough for promotion next time around as Needham Market, Dereham and Sudbury’s second string sides have joined Braintree’s in the division’s new-look constitution.

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“It’s still going to be a tough season for us,” said Wanderers boss Glenn Read. “Just because we finished fourth last season there are no guarantees that we’ll get promoted this time. That is obviously the goal though, to get this club back into the Premier League.”

He added: “It’s good that we’ve got more teams coming into the league. The only potentially negative effect is whether these reserve teams’ pitches are protected for their first teams or not. If that happens then you can end up with a bit of a back log of games – that certainly happened for us last season when our match against Braintree Town Reserves was called off three times.

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“I’m all for good young players playing in this division though. They’ve got to develop somewhere and the reserve leagues aren’t the strongest.

“We are trying to base our reserves around young players, so I can’t be against it because one day it might be us wanting to do it.”

Whitton United manager Paul Bugg said: “I can’t say I agree with this. If we finished fourth or fifth I wouldn’t want to go up by default. If teams are allowed in a league then they should be allowed to go up.

“We’ll just keep focusing on ourselves and doing things the right way. We’ve got some really exciting young players here and we’re trying to lay down some really solid foundations for years to come.

“I’m under no pressure to gain promotion and I’m not going to make any false promises. We’ve got some great people working behind the scenes in Phil Pemberton, Ruel Fox and Glenn Snell and we’re just trying to do things the right way.”

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