Harleston keen to grasp shot at the Thurlow Nunn

GOING UP? Harleston are hoping to be playing Thurlow Nunn League First Division football next season
GOING UP? Harleston are hoping to be playing Thurlow Nunn League First Division football next season

Manager Adam Gusterson believes the time is right for Harleston Town to become members of the Thurlow Nunn League.

It was confirmed to The Express last week that as part of widespread changes to the non-league structure, the Thurlow Nunn League plans to split its First Division into two leagues — ‘North and South’.

Each league will contain at least 16 teams, with clubs in the likes of the Touchline Suffolk & Ipswich League Premier Division and Hadley & Ottaway Anglian Combination Premier Division all given the opportunity to apply to make the jump from Step 7 to 6.

One of those declaring their interest in making the leap is Gusterson’s Harleston, who currently lead the way in the Anglian Combination’s top flight.

Harleston will have to make a few minor improvements to their Recreation Ground base by May 31, with the other work — such as floodlight installation — having to be completed by the summer of 2020.

And following a positive meeting on Monday evening with Harleston Town Council, who have pledged their support to the club with regard to those upgrades, Gusterson feels it is an opportunity that cannot be allowed to pass by.

“It was a very positive meeting with the council and it is great to know they are behind us,” said the boss.

“It is something we have wanted to do for a while and it has fallen into our hands a little bit with the more relaxed ground grading.

“We still have some work to do and boxes to tick, but we will do everything we can to make it happen.

“The time is right. I think it would be difficult to galvanise the club if we were at the same level again next season.”

A restructure will need to go on behind the scenes if Harleston are to make a success of the leap, but on the pitch Gusterson has no concerns.

And he has cited current Thurlow Nunn League First Division side Framlingham Town and Bostik League Premier Division outfit Brightlingsea Regent as the examples to follow.

“Framlingham have gone about it in a good way after making the move up and look like they are going again,” he added.

“Brightlingsea as well, they have just gone up and up.

“Long term we will want to be going up again like them.

“The teams we will be playing are going to be fitter and better organised, but we have the players to cope with that.

“A lot of our players have already done it a higher level, and they want to do it again as a group.”