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Big test for Dereham

PUBLISHED: 10:26 15 January 2009 | UPDATED: 14:56 07 July 2010

Dereham Town are heading west for one of the biggest games in their history - and manager Matty Henman says his side are ready for the daunting challenge that lies ahead of them.

Dereham Town are heading west for one of the biggest games in their history - and manager Matty Henman says his side are ready for the daunting challenge that lies ahead of them.

The Magpies travel to the suburbs of Bath to take on Larkhall Athletic in the fifth round of the FA Vase on Saturday (3) knowing their Western League opponents are currently riding on the crest of a wave.

But Henman's men are also going well at present and have received a timely double boost in the lead-up to one of the biggest games in their history with an exciting new signing, and the return of a key player from a long-term injury.

Dereham have boosted their squad with the capture of defender Stuart Williams from Soham, while former Norwich City Academy player Adam Gusterson is back after recovering from a serious knee injury.

So morale couldn't be higher in the camp as the Magpies prepare to face an in-form Larkhall side who are leading the way in Division One of the Toolsport Western League after winning their previous six games with a goal difference of 28-4.

“Everyone at the club is really excited about this game,” said Henman. “I remember getting to this stage as a player a few years back and losing to Durham City in a replay. I don't want that feeling again.

“If we could win this one it would be our best ever run in the Vase and that's what we are aiming for. Lowestoft showed what can be done in this competition last season by reaching the final and who knows what could happen if we got through.

“A nice home draw in the last 16 and I reckon we could get 500 or 600 people at Aldiss Park but obviously we've got to get past Larkhall first and that won't be easy. We'll be going down there to win but if you offered me a draw now I'd probably take it.”

Dereham were denied an opportunity to warm up for the big game last Saturday when their scheduled Ridgeons League visit to Lowestoft was frozen off but Henman reckons that could prove to be a blessing in disguise.

“It gave us another week for a few little niggles to clear up so we should be heading down there with a pretty much fully fit squad,” he said. “On top of that we're making sure we are properly prepared by travelling down on Friday and staying in Swindon, which is only a short drive away, so we'll get there nice and early on Saturday.

“We'll also have good support, with a couple of coaches going down, so everything is set up nicely.”

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