Boss Aldis has worked wonders for Stow

SIL SOCCER: If Stowmarket Town beat Fakenham tomorrow they are guaranteed a top five finish in the Premier Division of the Jewson League. This is a marvellous achievement for a club that runs on a shoestring budget compared with other sides in the higher reaches of the league.

By Elvin King

IF Stowmarket Town beat Fakenham tomorrow they are guaranteed a top five finish in the Premier Division of the Jewson League.

This is a marvellous achievement for a club that runs on a shoestring budget compared with other sides in the higher reaches of the league.

Manager Mel Aldis has worked wonders, continuing much of the happy-go-lucky approach that was the hallmark of Trevor Wardlaw's time in charge at Greens Meadow.

Wardlaw lifted Stowmarket into the top six before results dipped a little and he departed to be replaced by Aldis three seasons ago.

Aldis played under Wardlaw having previously managed Framlingham Town to the championship of the Metaltec SIL. He was also in charge when Suffolk side Earl Soham Victoria won the Carlsberg Pub Cup in 2000.

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Aldis' success in building up a strong squad is in contrast to Felixstowe and Walton United, who will be playing in the First Division next season.

Defeat at home to Dereham last Saturday confirmed Felixstowe's relegation and immediately led to fears about whether their lack of facilities at Dellwood Avenue will allow them back into top-flight football again.

The club's committee is confident they will despite the long walk from dressing rooms to pitch, and are geared up to making a strong bid for promotion in 2002-03.

Tomorrow Felixstowe, who have failed to attract suitable players, are at home to Mildenhall Town – their final home game at this level for 16 months at least.

Paul Adams and Chris Sawyer manage the Suffolk Premier Cup finalists, with the latter having no complaints about his side going down.

"The table does not lie," said Sawyer. "We have not proved to be good enough. We have a good youth policy and in four or five years should have a good first team.

"Apart from Sam Banya, who plays for AFC Sudbury, and Neil Stanbridge, who plays for Clacton Town, there are very few footballers who live in Felixstowe who have the quality to play Jewson League football.

Ipswich Wanderers will banish any lingering doubts about relegation if they gain at least a point at Bury Town and manager Alan Dilloway has done well to lift his side when it really matters.

A fortnight ago, Wanderers' position in the Premier Division looked precarious, but a series of good performances has lifted them up the table.

Their youth team goalkeeper Jamie Waite, who played for Thailand at the age of 15 earlier this year, is playing for Grimsby Town tomorrow.

The Coddenham-based player is playing for the reserves at home toOldham. PaulGroves, the Grimsby manager, wants to have a look at Waite, who is also interesting Manchester United and a number of other professional clubs.

Dave Hubbick has carried on his good work at Woodbridge Town and although the club has enjoyed no cup runs this season, a number of younger players have been blooded and proved up to the task.

Woodbridge will benefit from this next term. In the First Division, Leiston will be looking to keep their promotion challenge alive with a home win over Stanway, while Hadleigh United are at home to league leaders Norwich United.

Walsham-le-Willows can go top of the Metaltec SIL Senior Division table if they beat Capel Plough tomorrow. Paul Smith's side has still to play Capel twice, and will go into the match a bit wary against a team who won at current leaders Grundisburgh last month.

If Walsham do not slip up in their remaining games they will win their first title. Neither Grundisburgh nor Haughley have a match this weekend.