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Going Places

PUBLISHED: 08:00 23 May 2008 | UPDATED: 20:27 05 July 2010

New K&P signing Justin Fox. Picture: Journal library

New K&P signing Justin Fox. Picture: Journal library

Mark Boggis

THROWING down the gauntlet, Kirkley and Pakefield FC have fired an early broadside to their Ridgeons League rivals.

On the back of their highest-ever Premier Division finish of sixth place in the 2007/8 campaign, K&P manager Nick Shorten has moved quickly in the close season to boost his troops ahead of a possible promotion push.

Mark Boggis

THROWING down the gauntlet, Kirkley and Pakefield FC have fired an early broadside to their Ridgeons League rivals.

On the back of their highest-ever Premier Division finish of sixth place in the 2007/8 campaign, K&P manager Nick Shorten has moved quickly in the close season to boost his troops ahead of a possible promotion push.

The Journal can today exclusively reveal that the Walmer Road outfit have raided former league champions Wroxham with the twin capture of Justin Fox and Lee Gilman as they aim to achieve promotion to the Ryman League inside the next two seasons.

“We have so many talented youngsters and these two experienced additions are without doubt going to bring the best out of our young guns,” Shorten told The Journal.

“We have given ourselves tough targets in the past, such as when I joined the management team nine years ago we gave ourselves five years to get out of the Anglian Combination - we did it in four.

“We then gave ourselves three seasons to reach the top flight in the Eastern Counties League - we took two,” he said. “So we are now giving ourselves two seasons to win promotion - and I think we have proved that we will be a good bet”

Aiming high, Shorten admitted that the record signings of former Wroxham skipper Fox and the Trafford Park club's player of the season and supporters player of the season for 2006/7 Gilman would be the catalyst for future success.

After a season of “transition,” which still ended with a sixth place finish, Shorten revealed: “I now feel that we are well positioned to launch a serious campaign for the Ridgeons League title.

“To do this we need players who can come in without having to earn their stripes, players who have been there and done it and in Justin Fox and Lee Gilman we have this.

“Justin has been the best centre midfield player in this league for a number of years and has captained Wroxham to the title,” Shorten said.

“I have always had huge respect and admiration for him and to have him in our squad next season will give us a huge boost.

“Lee is a proven goalscorer at this level and again is someone that has always concerned me as a manager when we have played against him because he is a constant threat - as he has a great work ethic and a real eye for goal.

“If someone had have said to me a few years ago you will have Fox and Gilman in your squad I would have laughed and questioned if we could attract this level of quality - well we now have the ambition and the backing to make this happen,” Shorten admitted.

And with next season marking his tenth, and testimonial season, at the helm Shorten is now aiming for the club's biggest-ever achievement - of progression to the “next level.”

To do this, Shorten revealed that in the quest for reaching the Ryman's Holy Grail, this may not be the end of a summer signings spree. “We have a few other targets out there, again known quantities at this level, and we will be working hard over the short-term future to bring these in,” he told The Journal. “If we win the Ridgeons League we have the backing to go to the next level - we also have the ambition.

“Our target to do this will be next season - but it is not make and break if we don't pull this off - we will however ensure that within two seasons we have delivered this goal,” he admitted.

28-year-old Fox had been a loyal servant to Wroxham, having been with the Trafford Park club since making his first team debut in 1996. Described as a skilful, combative midfielder who loves a battle, in each of the past four seasons he has also weighed in with double figures in the goals tally.

Striker Lee Gilman, 26, was a firm favourite with the Trafford Park faithful having produced a string of excellent displays in the past few seasons, which had seen him score 70 goals in 130 games that he had started.

The pair were set to be paraded in front of a capacity audience at Walmer Road last night as they mingled with the new teammates at K&P's gentleman's evening.

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