Sporting ‘87 hoping to celebrate 30th anniversary with promotion to SIL Senior Division

Jonathan Warnock

Jonathan Warnock - Credit: Archant

Sporting ‘87 want to celebrate their 30th year in style, by winning promotion to the SIL Senior Division for the first-ever time.

The Bury St Edmunds-based club are well placed at the moment to achieve the dream – leading the way in Division One, ahead of Claydon on goal difference – but with two games in hand on Kenny Kennedy’s side.

Manager of 21 years, Jonathan Warnock, said: “Promotion is definitely an ambition, but we have probably slightly over-achieved so far and we hope to continue doing that.

“It would be nice to go up in our 30th year and play in the top league for the first time, but there are still a long way to go and a lot of challenges to face. We have to be realistic.”

Sporting’s transformation over the past year has been an impressive one, the team going from relegation-threatened to promotion-chasing.

“From a distance it looks as though we have come from nowhere, but if you look at our results since last January, we’ve progressed quite nicely,” added Warnock whose side travel to Bacton United 89 on Saturday.

“Last season, we didn’t win a game until January 16 but we managed to pick up a few results between then and the end of the season, won something like eight out of our 15 matches.”

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One of the reasons for the turnaround, was Warnock’s recruitment, the long-serving boss explaining: “I added a couple of boys at Christmas (2015) time that had been playing in our under-18s, Jarrad Lebbon and Elliot Chaplin, and they adapted really well.

“I brought in another couple of faces in pre-season, the likes of (goalkeeper) Floyd Croll, who had been playing in the Thurlow Nunn, and we have continued that momentum.”

Elsewhere on Saturday, second-top Claydon go to Old Newton United, AFC Hoxne host Wickham Market, Ipswich Exiles entertain Benhall St Mary, Ipswich Valley Rangers go to Stowupland Falcons and Trimley Red Devils welcome Trimley Athletic.

In the Senior Division, leaders Henley host East Bergholt, Achilles entertain Leiston St Margarets, Ipswich Athletic travel to Cranes, Grundisburgh welcome Wenhaston, Felixstowe Harpers visit Haughley and Stanton are at home to Westerfield United.