New-look Sleaford Town ready for derby day

Ward to take on former boss...

Harry Millard in action for Lincoln United. Photo: Oliver Atkin
Harry Millard in action for Lincoln United. Photo: Oliver Atkin

Tom Ward expects Sleaford Town’s clash with Newark to have all the ingredients of a classic derby clash.

The Greens hit the road on Saturday buoyed by two good home wins this week as they travel to Greenwich Avenue, where their hosts are ground sharing with Basford United this season.

Although the match will be a few extra miles away this term, player-manager Ward is looking forward to pitting his side against Newark boss Paul Rawden, his former gaffer at Grantham Town.

“I’ve played for their manager before and have a lot of respect for him. He gets on well with our chairman Nigel (Wedgwood, a former Grantham chairman) as well,” Ward said.

“He’s got a lot of faces at his club I’ve played with as well, but it will be derby day.

“Not just because of the locality but also, hopefully, there will be a few fans there enjoying it as well.

“The players also know each other and it’s a good test and one we’re looking forward to.”

Sleaford have bolstered their ranks this week with three new arrivals.

Attacker Rodrigo Goncalves has joined up on a month’s loan from Stamford while utility man Harry Millard returns to Eslaforde Park from Lincoln United.

Completing the trio is Joe Smith, who returns to the club after spells with Holbeach United and Boston Town.

Ward believes his side have ‘definitely turned a corner’ this week with Saturday’s 3-2 victory over UCL Premier North rivals Quorn and last Wednesday’s 2-0 Lincs Senior Trophy success against Deeping Rangers.

Goncalves, Mitch Griffiths and Ward were on target on Saturday as Town put themselves three points clear of their third-bottom opponents.

Ward also praised an ‘absolutely brilliant’ Sleaford Town performance after the Greens beat Deeping Rangers 2-0 in the Trophy.

Ryan Rushen’s cool finish and a header from the player-manager following a scramble in the box proved the difference at Eslaforde Park.

“Superb from minute one to the last minute of the game,” Ward said.

“Absolutely brilliant, I thought the boys put in a shift.

“That’s what our identity is, who we are. We get in people’s faces and we’re hard to beat and that showed today.”