MINEHEAD travel to Ilminster Town today for the first match of the year with promotion on their mind.

Not that Ilminster, who were promoted into the Premier Division at the end of last season, are easy pickings.



When the clubs met at Irnham Road on December 1 an inspired performance from goalkeeper Wayne Lewis and a solitary goal from top scorer Charlie Rutter enabled the visitors to leave with all three points.



Looking ahead, Minehead recently had their application for ground grading acknowledged by the FA – the first obstacle in the Blues’ growing attempts to get back into the Western League.



Though it has not been officially confirmed, Minehead believe that only two ground grading applications were made by county league clubs prior to the December 31 deadline.



That means that if they finish above the other applicants – Ashton & Backwell United – and in a top five position, then providing the club meet the strict criteria laid down for Step 6 clubs, promotion back into the Western League may not just be a pipe dream.



The club would need to make a number of improvements, some relatively minor, at the council owned Irnham Road ground. However the biggest boost would be the signing of a 25 year lease with Minehead Town Council later this month.


Though the lease was agreed and completed by solicitors in September, the club need to wait until the next full council meeting scheduled for Tuesday, January 22 for a final decision.



Ground grading has to be in place by March 31. Minehead reserves face stiff opposition in the form of Sydenham Rangers this Saturday, who they host at Irnham Road with a 2pm kick off.



The reserves then travel to play at Sydenham in the return fixture the following Saturday, while the first XI host a match against another top six side, Street reserves. Street reserves also provide the opposition for Watchet at the War Memorial Ground today (2pm).



Following the Boxing Day defeat by Minehead the Red and Blacks find themselves in 15th place in the Errea league with just three wins from 14 matches.