Wisbech St Mary boss Arran Duke is aiming high after Saints’ step six rise is confirmed

Wisbech St Mary manager, Arran Duke.

Wisbech St Mary manager, Arran Duke. - Credit: Archant

Wisbech St Mary boss Arran Duke has high expectations for his men after it was confirmed that they will be a step six team next season.

St Mary submitted a promotion request to move from the Cambs League Kershaw Premier Division to the Thurlow Nunn Division One back in December, and after a review – including an assessment of their Beechings Close ground – the club was granted permission to the higher division yesterday by the FA (May 12).

The news came as a surprise for Saints boss Duke, who wasn’t expecting a verdict so quickly.

He said: “We always knew that it was happening with the FA but I got an email last night which was a lot earlier than expected.

“The move makes sense for us and it means there will be a lot more local derbies.”

Wisbech St Mary finished a successful Kershaw Premier Division campaign in seventh, but could finish even higher if a disciplinary hearing regarding one of their fixtures earlier in the season goes their way.

“It’s been our best season in terms of points,” Duke said. “We could potentially finish in fifth because one of the teams we played is being looked into for fielding an illegible player, so we could end up in the promotion places anyway.”

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Now that St Mary’s step six status has been secured, Duke is already planning for next season, and believes his men can compete at the top of their new league.

He said: “It’d be wrong for me to say that we’re not looking to win the league, because we want to win every competition we go into.

“If we finish near the top, I’ll be very happy. It’s all going to be new for us next year, but I don’t see why we shouldn’t be up there.

“It’s been a long slog for everyone at the club, but we’ve finally got there and it’s an exciting time.”

Duke says his current squad is more than able to challenge in the Thurlow Nunn Division One, but hasn’t ruled out bringing in some new recruits.

The Wisbech St Mary manager said: “We’ve been planning for going up all season so we’ve brought new players in, but if the right players become available then we’ll definitely look to get even stronger.

“But with that said, I’m very happy with the squad now and if you said the season was starting tomorrow then I’d say we’re ready to go.”

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