"It'll be like playing FA Vase games!" Sleaford Town boss Jamie Shaw 'excited' to face nine new rivals in UCL Premier North

Jamie Shaw.Jamie Shaw.
Jamie Shaw.
Greens will do their homework as they face new clubs...

The newly-created the United Counties League Premier North will throw up some unknown quantities for Sleaford Town - with manager Jamie Shaw has likening fixtures to FA Vase contests.

The 18-team league will feature nine members of last season's UCL Premier.

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Joining Anstey Nomads, Deeping Rangers, Holbeach United, Leicester Nirvana, Loughborough University, Pinchbeck United, Quorn and the Greens will be newly-promoted Skegness Town, Melton Town, Heanor Town and Eastwood.

Meanwhile, Gresley, Heather St John, Long Eaton United, Newark and Selston will move across from Midlands divisions.

"There'll be grounds we're turning up at and not knowing if it's going to be carpet or a bumpy pitch," Shaw said of the shake up.

"Is it open and windy? You won't know a lot about them as it's part of a new experience, but we'll do all the prep we can.

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"It'll be a little bit like playing FA Vase or FA Cup games, you see new teams and it's all very different.

"It's going to be a tough league, no doubt about it. But that's what you want."

Sleaford may miss out on their local derby against Peterborough Northern Star, who have been placed into the UCL Premier South along with many of the Northamptonshire-based league regulars, but they do gain another local rival... sort of.

Newark may be just down the road, but after the club lost their home to property development, they will be groundsharing with Nottingham-based Basford United.

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"There will be a few more new teams in this league than there would have been in the South, so that's always good and exciting," Shaw added.

"It's a bit of shame we get given a derby against Newark and, because of their circumstances, they're playing at Basford, one of our further games away. Hopefully, we can play them at Newark at some point.

"I'm really excited. I think it'll be a good quality league.

"You can never be too sure about opponents as a manager can leave, a chairman can leave, and a club can completely change. But comparing the sides with last year, I think there'll be some really good sides in there.

"There are some really well supported sides as well and, with them only being in Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, hopefully we can increase the crowds for some games as well."

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