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Grantham Town entertain Sherwood Colliery in their first pre-season friendly

Grantham Town's plans for next season are starting to gather pace ahead of their opening friendly on Saturday.

The Gingerbreads host Northern Premier League newcomers Sherwood Colliery in their first pre-season clash at the Meres.

The match against their East Division visitors will now kick off at 12.30pm due to England's Euro 2024 clash later in the day in what will be Grantham fans' first chance to see Louis Bland's revamped side.

Brad Munns has joined Grantham Town permanently.
Brad Munns has joined Grantham Town permanently.

The head coach has added new and familiar faces to established players from last season as they attempt to make their mark on Midlands Division this term.

The Gingerbreads have retained the services of two key players from last term in attacker Harry Olivant and goalkeeper Curtis Hall.

Skipper Sam Muggleton is also staying at the Meres and the club captain will again lead the team out in the new season.

Bland said: "When I first came in I didn't know much about him personally but knew of him as a player and what he had done in the game.

"I made him captain straight away as I thought he was a role model to our young group. His performances last season were good but, again like I've said previously, I think I can push his game on more and that’s what we both want."

Having already secured the additions of striker Brad Rolt from Cambridge City and midfielder Luke Harris from St Ives, the Gingerbreads have further bolstered their ranks.

Midfielder Sam Edgington has returned to the club after coming through the youth system before joining Notts County where he was released in the summer after four years with the Magpies.

Bland said: "Sam is another signing we're so happy about. He messaged me as he was desperate to come back to the club.

"He can add something different to our good midfield group already and we're looking forward to developing him further."

Striker Leke Shodunke has also joined the Gingerbreads from Shepshed Dynamo having previously played for Quorn.

Bland commented: "Leke is a player that fits in perfectly with what we want. He has got the ability but he needs to work on certain aspects of his game.

"I think we can really get him to hit top form for us. He's got bags of pace which will frighten teams and I can't wait to work with him."

With defender Ryan Ebanks having already returned to the club, the Gingerbreads will also have the permanent services of Brad Munns next term.

Midfielder Munns spent the majority of the campaign last year on loan from Southern League Premier Division Central side Stamford.

Bland explained: "I've known Brad for a long time and we know exactly how we work, but I want to keep improving him. He's a local lad who wants to do well for his local team."

The Gingerbreads will also have the services of fit-again defender Lewis Barker for the coming campaign along with goalkeeper Jonasz Gadomski who will provide competition for number one Hall.

Bland said: "I know Lewis well. We will give him the time to get fully fit and he will be a big asset to us.

"Like many others we have, we can see what he has to offer and we will do all we can to make him deliver that.

"I'm also so happy that Jonasz is here for another season.

"Being a goalkeeper is tough as only one of you can play but I couldn't think of anyone better to be our number two. He's a fantastic person as well as a keeper.

"He showed at Winterton last season if anything happens to Curtis that we have someone who can step in. We've had some good conversations about his role and how I see that developing for him."

Lewis Daff has also returned to the Meres after being with the club under Bland in the successful Academy sides while Louis Nicholson will remain a Gingerbread after a successful time with the club last season following his move from Basford.

Bland said: "We see so much potential in Louis and we worked hard with him last season and that will continue. We're really happy with him staying.

"I know Daffy really well from both my previous time at the club as well as having him with me at Sleaford.

"He has been getting loads of experience with Sleaford and I'm excited for the season ahead for him."

The Gingerbreads play their second friendly on Tuesday night against West Bridgford.

The match will now be played at Aslockton & Orston with a 7.45pm kick-off.

Grantham Town Supporters Club Lottery winners: £200 Mark Magneron, £10 M Oliver, £5 Nick Johnston, Dan Maddy, Mrs C Meads, Jason Hose, M Fardell, James Hart.

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