AFC Wanderers are aiming to go one better

AFC Wanderers have received a double boost as they bid to go one better than last season by securing a maiden Evening News Copy IT Norwich Sunday League top flight title triumph.

For they have taken up the running in the Premier Division title race with the added bonus of an important psychological victory over last season's champions Marlborough already in the bag. The north city pub side were the only team to beat them in a league campaign that saw AFC pipped at the post by a single point.

The 5-1 win over Mark Jones' treble winners in the opening game of the season was a clear signal that AFC are not prepared to be the bridesmaids again.

'We have set out to go one better than last season,' said manager Jason Bush, whose side ultimately paid the penalty for the defeat by Marlborough and five draws last term.

'Everybody in the squad would like to win the title because it's the only thing we have never won.'

However, despite the bright start of seven wins in eight games, Bush is wary of many potential pitfalls that could prevent them from achieving their goal.

'I definitely think the Premier Division has got stronger this season with the teams that have come up. I have been told to be wary of Sprowston Rovers, Fiveways play some good football and although we eventually beat them 5-2 it was by no means an easy game. We should find out more about Bayer this Sunday when we play them in the Senior Cup.'

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Bush, whose side's only defeat was an 8-1 reverse at the hands of Acle Rangers after they had two players sent off in the opening half hour, won't be underestimating familiar foes, either, whatever the league table, might say. He added: 'You never write off Marlborough, Dog House or the Grove.'

The Eaton Park-based outfit have been boosted by a crop of new signings with Danny Pennell, a striker who joined from the Grove, netting a hat-trick in Sunday's 5-0 demolition of Aylsham – suggesting that he may be the answer to the reduction in goal power caused by 20-goal marksman's Farin Deeba's departure to league newcomers Costessey West End.

Midfielder Aaron Kay, the two-goal hero of AFC'S 2010 3-2 Norfolk Sunday Senior Cup trumph over Dog House at Carrow Road, has returned after a season away while ex-Hellesdon defender Charlie Bartrum and Luke Jackson, a midfielder signed from leading Yarmouth outfit Windmill, have both made significant impacts.

The talismanic Luke Tuttle, last season's 30-goal leading marksman, has resumed normal service with 12 goals in eight games so far, despite playing some recent matches in defence as temporary cover. 'He has been playing centre half because we have had a defender missing for one reason or another, but that hasn't stopped him scoring,' said Bush, who has underlined his own verstatility by running the line during matches after the departure of the club's regular linesman. 'I'd like to thank my assistant manager Steve Abrahams for his support while I have been running the line,' said Bush, who would be delighted to hear from anyone who would be able to relieve him from flag duties.

This Sunday AFC hope to move a step closer to a Carrow Road appearance when they meet Bayer, with a place in January's quarter- finals the reward for the winner. AFC are naturally keen to make up for the disappointment of last season's 1-0 semi-final defeat by Camden Tavern but Bush insisted: 'We just take each game as it comes.'