Le Masurier hopes his Shopmates can last the pace

Raunds Town manager Jim Le Masurier

Raunds Town manager Jim Le Masurier

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Raunds Town player-boss Jim Le Masurier hopes he’s put together a side that can last the pace in the ChromaSport & Trophies United Countie League Division One.

For the past two seasons, the Shopmates have faded after starting strongly to finish 12th and ninth.

They head to Irchester United this weekend seventh in the table having ended Stewarts & Lloyds’ unbeaten start to the season with a 2-1 win at Occupation Road last Saturday.

And, having made some key additions during the summer, Le Masurier believes Raunds can sustain a challenge at the top end of the table.

He said: “I think we will win more than we lose this season and if we get on a run, who knows?

“In the last two seasons we’ve had good starts then fallen away.

“This season we need to stay strong and get through the difficult spells when we have injuries and suspensions.

“The top four is achievable, but another six managers or more are thinking that as well.

“Apart from the Thrapston game (a 2-1 home defeat last month), I’m happy enough with the start we’ve made and where we are.”

Most pleasing was last week’s win at Stewarts & Lloyds that followed a 5-1 beating at Peterborough Sports in midweek.

Nick Harrison and Karl King put them ahead and Raunds hung on for three points despite an injury to goalkeeper Chris Jones.

That led to Le Masurier going in between the posts and he kept the table-toppers out.

Le Masurier is hoping to add a new goalkeeper to his squad before this weekend’s game with Jones now facing four to six weeks on the sidelines with a thigh injury.

Mitchell should also be back for the trip to Irchester after being ruled out last week through injury.

Burton Park Wanderers take on Thrapston Town in another local derby while Whitworth will be seeking their second win of the season when they head to fellow strugglers Woodford United.

This weekend also signals the start of the NFA Junior Cup for a couple of local clubs.

Division One leaders Stewarts & Lloyds take on Northampton Spencer Reserves at Occupation Road in their first-round clash.

Rushden & Higham, meanwhile, face a potentially tricky tie as they welcome Northants Combination Premier Division leaders JK Blisworth to Hayden Road.