Clubs all set for big kick-off as Bedford Town, Ampthill Town and Real Bedford begin campaigns

Bedford Town begin life in the Southern Premier League Central this weekend as they visit Stratford Town.

Bedford Town boss Gary Setchell with new signings Matt Maloney. Photo: Bedford Town FC.
Bedford Town boss Gary Setchell with new signings Matt Maloney. Photo: Bedford Town FC.

Promoted as champions of Division One Central at the end of last season, Gary Setchell's men will be hoping for a strong start to their step three campaign.

The Eagles added to their squad this week with the signing of young full-back Matt Moloney.

Moloney spent his youth career at Luton Town and played step three football with Hitchin Town on work experience last season.

Following a successful trial through pre-season, Setchell has rewarded the youngster with a place in his squad for the new campaign.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Setchell said: "Matt has done well through pre-season, and applied his attitude well in games and training. We look forward to seeing how he continues to develop under us."

Ampthill Town, meanwhile, will be hoping to go one better in the Spartans South Midlands League Division One this year after finishing second last time round.

An unbeaten run at the end of last term took them to the runners-up spot but they lost out in the play-offs.

Lee Hawkes' side begin their campaign on Saturday with a visit from Thame United Reserves, followed by a home game next week with Wellingborough Whitworths who beat them in the play-offs.

Town's first away game is a trip to Rushden and Higham on August 20 before a midweek home game with Langford.

Ampthill's squad has increased in recent weeks with Danny Watson and Mark Bunker both returning along with the experienced Phil Draycott and Tyler Ingham from Crawley Green.

They lost their last pre-season game on Tuesday going down 2-1 at home to AFC Dunstable.

The visitors took the lead with a well-placed free-kick in the first half but Sam Holmes levelled soon after the restart, only for AFC to grab the winner.

The newly-named Real Bedford also commence their Spartan South Midlands League Division One season with a home game against Rushden & Higham at McMullen Park.

They finished seventh in the league last season as Bedford FC.