Dereham Town manager Matt Henman believes his side have nothing to fear ahead of FA Cup tie against Metropolitan Police
DEREHAM Town manager Matt Henman believes his side have nothing to fear in their FA Cup third qualifying round clash at home to Metropolitan Police on Saturday (3pm).
The Magpies, who surrendered top spot in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division and their 100pc record in all competitions in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Diss, face a Met Police side who play at two levels higher, in the Ryman Premier Division.
But Henman – who missed Saturday's match at Diss to take in Met Police's 5-0 FA Trophy win at Redbridge – insists his team have an even chance of grabbing the �7,500 prize money on offer to the winners of Saturday's tie.
He said: 'They are a good side, but they're not unbeatable and I think I saw some areas we can exploit.
'The bottom line is that we need to play well, somewhere near our best and if we do that we have a real chance.
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'I would say it's 50/50. We are at home, our form is good and we are confident. It will be our toughest game of the season so far, but we have come through other tough games, so we should be confident in this one.'
Henman believes the gap in status between the two sides is slightly misleading: 'I think we are a step higher than the level we are playing at,' he said. 'In other areas of the country we would be playing Step Four football and our players would be comfortable there.
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'So from that point of view we're playing a team only one level higher than us and that does not seem so daunting.'
The Magpies trained on Tuesday night as usual and the manager is keen not to stray from their regular routine: 'We'll be in early on Saturday which is what we have been doing for home games,' said Henman. 'From the players' perspective we want to treat it like any other game. That has been successful so far and we don't want to change it.'
Set piece specialist Gary Starling was rested at Diss after feeling tightness in a hamstring, but he will be fit for Saturday's clash. Striker Shaun Bammant returns after suspension, but Scott Woodgate misses out with a knee injury and Adam Smith is unlikely to be fit to return to the side.
Henman said he was pleased with his factfinding mission to London on Saturday, despite the Magpies dropping their first points of the season in his absence: '(Assistant manager) Neal Simmons is well capable of looking after the team and I don't think it had any effect on the result.
'It wasn't a lack of respect to the league game, the fact was we were able to get the best of both worlds.
'It was disappointing to drop points, but in derby games teams will raise their game against us and I think we can look at it as a decent point away from home.'
n For more Cup tie build-up, see page two.