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Pinchbeck United will be playing in the Thurlow Nunn League next season

Lewis Thorogood feels a change of league has galvanised Pinchbeck United ahead of their new campaign.

The Knights will be playing in Division One North of the Thurlow Nunn League for the coming season after their place was confirmed at the weekend's annual meeting.

While initially being disappointed at being moved by the Football Association from the United Counties League, Thorogood is now embracing the new challenge which will see Pinchbeck lock horns again next season with neighbours Holbeach United.

Knights manager Lewis Thorogood and his assistant Mark Melson
Knights manager Lewis Thorogood and his assistant Mark Melson

He said: "We were disappointed at being placed in the Eastern Counties League at first because we were concerned about the travel implications and knock-on effect as any club would be.

"But it has galvanised the club quite a lot and there is a real spirit and togetherness now about wanting to succeed.

"Looking at the information and research that we have done already, it is very clear that it is a footballing league as opposed to the physicality of the United Counties League.

"We do feel that works in our favour and we want to take into this coming season the learnings which we have had from the United Counties League and go and apply that into the Eastern Counties."

The Knights will face a number of their former foes in pre-season following their relegation from the Premier Division North last term.

They host Sleaford Town tonight (Wednesday) at Knight Street before entertaining Boston Town on Saturday in a match which now kicks-off at 2pm due to England's Euro 2004 clash.

A trip to Skegness Town next Wednesday night is then followed by a visit to Bourne Town on Saturday, July 13, before entertaining Deeping Rangers on Wednesday, July 17.

Pre-season is completed on Monday, July 23, with a home match against King's Lynn Town Under 23s. All of Pinchbeck's home fixtures will be played at Knight Street.

Thorogood added: "The majority of our friendlies are against step five opposition and it's because we still want to keep to that battling, physical mind-set.

"It is always good to get positive results in pre-season but it's July 27 when the league season starts that matters.

"We want the work-rate and intensity to be very much of a United Counties League Premier Division North mind-set which is why we've got these fixtures."

Last season's skipper Ben Robson faces a quick reunion with his old club in the first friendly after joining Sleaford who also have ex-Knight Jake Henderson in their ranks.

However, Pinchbeck have kept the core of last season's squad despite the change in travel commitments.

Thorogood commented: "We've also had a sprinkling of good lads come in over the first part of pre-season as trialists.

"We're now just wanting to cherry-pick two or three final positions to be in the best position which we can.

"Even though we are going into the unknown a little bit, I feel we will have a competitive side who will play a good standard and style of football.

"We will give it a good fight and I think this kind of re-set which we've got is good for the club. It has enabled us to take stock a little bit and given us a better focus.

"We have had one of the best prepared pre-seasons since I've been at the club and there are also a lot of good things going on behind the scenes.

"A lot of positive things are happening and we are firmly focused on the job in hand. We want to start the season with a winning culture and, fingers crossed, we can finish it with one."

The Knights have been drawn at home to Eaton Socon in the preliminary round of the Hinchingbrooke Cup. The winners will host Baldock Town.

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