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Thetford Town chairman Nigel Armes on the club’s bid for promotion to Step 4 via this weekend’s inter-step play-off game at Barton Rovers

Thetford Town chairman Nigel Armes says a victory in Saturday’s Step 4/5 inter-step play-off game would put the club back on the map.

The Brecklanders travel to Barton Rovers, of the Pitching In Southern League Division One Central, on Saturday (3pm) with promotion on the line.

A victory this weekend would secure Thetford, who finished runners-up in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division this season, a move up to Step 4 in the non-league pyramid for the first time in the club’s history.

Thetford Town scored more than 100 goals on their way to finishing second in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division this season Picture: Mecha Morton
Thetford Town scored more than 100 goals on their way to finishing second in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division this season Picture: Mecha Morton

“We’re expecting a tough game,” Armes said. “They’re fighting for their survival at Step 4 and we’re ambitious and we want to join a few other local sides around here and get into that league.

“The boys have got quite a hill to climb and it’s something we’ve never been involved in before.

“We’d like to get back amongst the Bury’s and the Felixstowe’s at that level.

“I was looking at the trophy we got on Saturday as runners-up and a lot of the names on there do play at Step 4 now.

“The last time we were on there was in 1989/90 when we finished runners-up in the Eastern Counties League.

“That’s a long, long time ago for people to have a Thetford team competing at the top.

“It’s thanks to Matt (Morton, player-manager), the rest of the management and the players. They’ve done remarkably well this year.

“Hopefully on Saturday we can get the result that puts us back on the map again.”

Thetford spent most of this season sitting at the top of the Thurlow Nunn League’s top flight, and at the turn of the calendar year had an eight-point lead at the summit.

An incredible 15-game winning run from Ipswich Wanderers, which included a 3-2 victory at home against Thetford on March 25, saw them overhaul the Brecklanders and claim the Premier Division title.

“Going back to Christmas, I think everyone thought we were going to romp the league,” Armes said.

“We’ve had some injuries and it’s been difficult this year. We were probably disappointed to end up runners-up as we thought we had enough energy and quality to win it.

“Fair do to Ipswich Wanderers. We lost there 3-2 unfortunately after being 2-0 up.”

A supporters’ coach for Saturday’s play-off sold out quickly with the identity of Thetford’s opponents having not been revealed until late yesterday.

Barton finished 18th in their league at Step 4 this term, just two points clear of bottom side FC Romania to avoid automatic relegation.

“It’s a total unknown for us,” the Thetford chairman said. “We don’t know them.

“They’ve conceded a lot of goals this year, but it looks like their results have picked up recently.

“There’s some good teams in that league so they might be a very good outfit. We’ve just got to play our own football.”

Armes added: “I’d like to publicly thank the supporters, the committee and the players at this club.

“It’s never easy to get things moving again after so many years. I think they call us a sleeping giant at Thetford.

“I’d just like to thank everyone associated with the club. Without all those people we haven’t got a club, it’s as simple as that.”