FLEETWOOD Town will be able to renew their rivalry with Southport next season after the Haig Avenue club won a Blue Square Bet Premier reprieve.
Southport were relegated as last season’s fourth-bottom club but have been reinstated after the league expelled Rushden & Diamonds because of the financial uncertainties surrounding the club.
At the league’s agm, it was agreed that the Northamptonshire club could not guarantee to fulfil next season’s fixtures because of it cash crisis.
Rushden, managed by former Spurs defender Justin Edinburgh, suffered a five-point deduction last season after being found guilty of submitting incorrect financial information.
Town lost 1-0 at Southport last August but gained revenge with a 2-0 Christmas victory at Highbury, both clubs havingwon promotion to non-league’s top flight the previous season.
Rushden were formed in 1992 from a merger between Rushden Town and Irthlingborough Diamonds. They spent four seasons in the Football League, their high point being a season in the third tier in 2003-4.
n JAMIE Milligan hopes to play a full part in pre-season training after a successful knee operation.
The Town midfielder cut his season short in order to have surgery and is delighted he did. Milligan said: “To be honest it would have been handier to have had the operation a few weeks earlier but the surgeon says it went well.
“The knee feels ten times stronger. I’ve had a few days at Lilleshall and will be going back for a few more.
“I’m not back running yet but I hope to go on the trip to Scotland to get to know all the new lads.”
After Grimsby defender Rob Atkinson became Town’s seventh summer signing, Milligan says he is thrilled with the club’s transfer activity.
“It’s good to have such a strong squad and we will all have to fight for our places.
“We’ve signed lads who are proven at this level, which I think is vital. It will be hard for everyone to get a place and we need the competition.”