New foes will offer fresh challenges to United’s title aspirations

Dennis Greene.
Dennis Greene.

Boston United have set their sights on promotion by becoming National League North champions next season... but there will be a whole host of rivals also gunning for that crown.

Guiseley’s 3-2 victory over Chorley in the Vanarama North play-off final - in which they came from 2-0 down to earn a staggering victory - ensured they will join Barrow as the other promoted team taking its place in non-league’s top flight next season.

And with Colwyn Bay, Hyde and Leamington Town being relegated and Oxford City switching to the Southern division, much to the frustration of Lowestoft, the Pilgrims will face six new teams in the upcoming campaign.

“Our focus is to win the league next year and not be involved in the play-offs,” Boston boss Dennis Greene said after his side’s play-off semi-final penalty shootout defeat to Chorley.

Greene’s 26 months at the Jakemans Stadium have seen positive progression, with the club finishing in 16th, sixth and third place in consecutive campaigns.

But there will be other sides also intent on the title.

Coming down from the Vanarama Premier will be Alfreton Town, AFC Telford United and Nuneaton Town, three sides with serious expectations of bouncing straight back up.

Meanwhile, three promoted teams will be hoping that momentum can carry them up another rung of the ladder.

FC United of Manchester - the Pilgrims’ old foes from their UniBond Premier days - will move into the division after winning the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League.

They will be joined by Curzon Ashton, who followed them up after defeating Ilkeston 1-0 in their play-off final.

A third team looking likely to take their place in the National League North will be Corby Town.

The Steelmen - whose squad included ex-Pilgrims Spencer Weir-Daley, Ben Milnes and Greg Mills - won the Evo-Stik Southern Premier League in style, overtaking league leaders Poole Town with a final-day victory at their title rivals.

Meanwhile, the division’s nearly men Chorley, AFC Fylde and Tamworth will also be hoping they can create the consistency to push for promotion, while Hednesford Town, Stockport County and Solihull Moors will also be of similar mindsets.

Bradford Park Avenue, now under the ownership of Texas-based businessman Gareth Roberts, and Stalybridge Celtic - managed by Liam Watson, who has won this division three times, twice with Southport and once with Telford - could be next year’s surprise packages.

North Ferriby United’s upcoming form could be anyone’s guess after the Villagers were put up for sale last month.

Worcester City, Gloucester City, Harrogate Town, Gainsborough Trinity and Brackley Town will conclude next season’s line-up.