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Bloaters expect tough test

PUBLISHED: 10:05 25 July 2008 | UPDATED: 11:27 03 July 2010

Action from the Bloaters' pre-season match with King's Lynn which ended in a 0-0 draw at the Wellesley.

Action from the Bloaters' pre-season match with King's Lynn which ended in a 0-0 draw at the Wellesley.

Great Yarmouth Town take on Blue Square North side Braintree Town, under new manager Lee Patters, at the Wellesley tomorrow (kick-off 3pm), knowing a hard game is in store.

Great Yarmouth Town take on Blue Square North side Braintree Town, under new manager Lee Patters, at the Wellesley tomorrow (kick-off 3pm), knowing a hard game is in store. King's Lynn warned that it could be a very physical match.

Braintree were last in the Eastern Counties League alongside the Bloaters in season 1990-91 with the last competitive fixture between the two resulting in a 7-1 win for the Essex outfit before they were promoted to the Ryman League. In 2002/03 Braintree won a pre-season friendly 3-0.

Braintree, who lost out in the promotion play-offs in May, have made a number of significant signings including former Arsenal and Southend goalkeeper Craig Holloway, an England non-league cap, and striker Gareth Williams who came from Colchester United and is a former Welsh U21 international.

Also tomorrow, the reserves go to North Walsham for a friendly fixture (kick-off 3pm).

On Sunday, the Mercury-sponsored Youth (U18s) visit Watton (kick-off noon), and next Thursday, a Yarmouth XI will visit Cromer Town (kick-off 7.30pm).

The Bloaters took steps after the Lynn game to protect their star youngsters when Adam Sewell and Dominic Smith signed contracts.

Chairman Stephen Brierley said: “We value these youngsters and want them to stay with us. It's players like these that are the future of the club, but these two are only the tip of the iceberg and it's likely more will be offered this same opportunity.”

Joint manager Kevin Cruickshank commented: “We have an excellent crop of young talent coming through its ranks. It is the management team's intention to reward players' loyalty and commitment with contracts, and this sends out a clear message to other clubs that GYT FC are serious about their goal of moving forward in local football.

“If you are good enough you are old enough and these two are proof of that this is just the start of what is going to be exciting times on and off the field. Watch this space!”

Joint manager Paul Tong was equally delighted as the strength of the youth set-up at Yarmouth was one of the reasons he made a return to the Wellesley this summer.

It seems the news of goalkeeper Elliott Pride's departure had been greatly exaggerated! Rumours that he had signed for another club proved false and he was back for the Bloaters, and saving a penalty, on Saturday against King's Lynn. After the game he re-signed for the Bloaters and collected the coveted Players' Player of the Year 2007/08 award to boot.

He was pleased to be back and playing alongside old Bloaters' youth team-mates Alan Darby and Darren Lamb, who have both returned to the club this summer.

King's Lynn's star summer signing, former £1.5m Aston Villa striker Julian Joachim, helped out after Saturday's game by presenting the players' awards for the past season that it had not been possible to present the previous weekend (pictures top of page).

As well as Elliott Pride's award, the Scott-Greenard Sportsmanship Trophy was presented to Nick Crawley and the Supporters' First Team Player of the Year to captain Johnny Watt.

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