Whitton United manager tipping exciting times in Thurlow Nunn Premier Division alongside Ipswich Wanderers, Hadleigh United and Felixstowe & Walton United

Paul Bugg

Paul Bugg - Credit: Archant

Whitton United manager Paul Bugg believes it is an exciting time for Suffolk football ahead of the new Thurlow Nunn Premier Division season.

Bugg led Whitton to the First Division title last season and his side were followed by Ipswich Wanderers in being elevated to the top-flight.

The duo have added to the growing number of Suffolk clubs in the league and will battle it out with the likes of last season’s champions Hadleigh United, Felixstowe & Walton, Walsham-Le-Willows and Mildenhall Town this season.

That is likely to breed some shock results according to Bugg, whose side host Wanderers on Tuesday night, after their opening day clash at Haverhill Rovers tomorrow.

“We could have done with the Ipswich Wanderers game being later in the season and I would have thought that a game of that magnitude would be more suited for a Boxing Day or Easter clash,” said Bugg.

“Having said that, there are also the likes of Felixstowe & Walton and Hadleigh United in the division and I think it really is an exciting time for Suffolk football.

“Any team can beat anyone else on any given day and I think there will be some weird and wonderful results this season.

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“I still think we are a week behind everyone else in terms of pre-season fitness, given the challenge we have had in putting a squad together over the summer, but we are looking forward to the season. It will be hard for us and our priority is survival.”

Bugg, who will be without the injured Jamie Clark, Jerrell Laine and Elliott Crowe and suspended duo Chris Williams and Anton Clarke, has backed last season’s third-placed finishers Felixstowe & Walton to be challenging for top honours, while targeting consolidation for his own squad

“Felixstowe & Walton will be a tough team to stop,” added Bugg, who led Whitton to Suffolk Senior Cup glory last season.

“They have signed some good players in Stewart Ainsley, Sheridan Driver and (goalkeeper) Jamie Stannard, who surprised me when he left Ipswich Wanderers.

“They will be in the mix but if I was to go for one name to win it, I would pick Godmanchester.”

He added: “I think ourselves, Wanderers and Fakenham (also promoted last season) will be unknown quantities next season.

“We would all love to do a Brightlingsea Regent (won promotion in their first season) but the priority for us, and I am sure the other two teams, will be survival.”

Meanwhile, Felixstowe & Walton begin their quest for glory against another team tipped to be challenging at the top, Norwich United.

The Seasiders have recruited well this summer.

As well as the aformentioned, Ainsley, Driver and Stannard, they have also signed Brantham’s Jamie Cole, who is returning to the club after two seasons away, and Danny Bloomfield, who returns after a 14-year absence as player-assistant manager.

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