Paul has the Bugg for more as Whitton United look to push on in 2015

Whitton's Anton Clarke (right), who has just returned from injury

Whitton's Anton Clarke (right), who has just returned from injury - Credit: JAMES AGER

Following a highly-successful 2014, Whitton United boss Paul Bugg is hoping for even more success this year.

Anton's brother Ethan Clarke fires in a shot for Whitton

Anton's brother Ethan Clarke fires in a shot for Whitton - Credit: Archant

Last year was a memorable one for the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division outfit as Bugg led the club to a famous league and cup double following the First Division championship and the Suffolk Senior Cup triumph.

And this season promises to be an even better one for the Ipswich-based side as their healthy league table position in their new environment suggests, with Bugg excited at the possibilities Whitton can achieve.

“The league position does excite me,” declared Bugg, whose side sit in 11th position before today’s home encounter with Thetford Town, and with several games in hand on their rivals.

“We’ve lost four league games, but all four of those were in the first eight games of the season.

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“We ended 2014 brilliantly – we came back from 3-0 down (and with just 11 minutes to go) to draw with Stanway, we beat Felixstowe (6-2), and we destroyed Kirkley & Pakefield (4-1).

“No-one expected us to get results like that in those three games and it is just a really exciting time for the club.”

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Bugg’s men have rapidly climbed the league of late, and have not lost a league game since the end of September – a run which has seen them win five and draw four of their last nine league games.

They head into today’s game against a Thetford side who sit on equal points with the Suffolk outfit, but having played five more games.

Alongside Essex duo Stanway Rovers and FC Clacton, Whitton have played the fewest (17) league games in the division this season – something Bugg is looking to take full advantage of.

“We do have a number of games in hand, but as you often see, if you lose one or two games, you can find yourself down towards the bottom four of five places,” expressed Bugg.

“Hopefully we can continue to push away from the bottom – from day one (after winning promotion into the Premier Division last season), the emphasis has been to stay up and it looks like we will do that.

“I don’t want to get carried away, but the boys are ultra-confident at the moment, and who knows where we could have been if we would have had the squad we do now.”

Miles Powell and Allicion Blake are just two new names to have made a big impact this season, but it is a Whitton regular who Bugg is pleased to see back playing again the most.

Midfielder Anton Clarke has been sidelined through ankle ligament damage since the third game of the season, but has recently returned to the fold.

“Getting Anton back is massive,” declared Bugg, whose side also have a Suffolk Premier Cup semi-final to look forward to against Ryman North opponents AFC Sudbury in March.

“He’ll be like a new player for us, he’s true Whitton, and he’s a lovely bloke.

“His brother (Ethan) as well – what a player he is!

“I believe that in him (Ethan) and Jack Mead we have the two best left-backs in the division.

“Ethan’s been playing left midfield of late, and I think they’re Ryman standard players.

“I actually think we have six or seven players who are of Ryman standard, that’s how good I think our squad is.”

Bugg is hopeful today’s clash will beat the wet weather – his side have not played for nearly a month, with many proposed games postponed.

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