Dereham Town on the charge for glory
- Credit: IAN BURT
Dereham Town will be looking to continue their upward momentum when they host two home games in four days, writes Gavin Caney.
While the Magpies' new year got off to a losing start at Soham Town Rangers, Matt Henman's men have bounced back from that undeserved 2-1 defeat with a bang.
On Saturday they saw off fellow top-five hopefuls Thurrock 2-1 at Aldiss Park to leave manager Henman admitting reaching the Ryman North play-offs are more of a realistic target than a bonus.
That victory – achieved thanks to goals from Michael Clunan and Ryan Hawkins – was followed up by a hard-fought 2-1 Norfolk Senior Cup quarter-final success at Thetford Town on Tuesday night.
The Magpies went behind to their lower-level hosts but responded impressively with Clunan and Hawkins doing the business in front of goal again.
The away triumph leaves Henman's men in with a more than realistic shout of matching their 2011 county cup success. And that dream is just as much of an ambition as reaching the end-of-season shoot-out for promotion, according to Henman.
He said: 'I think trying to get in the play-offs and winning the Norfolk Senior Cup are equal in terms of importance for us.
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'We want to win every game we are in and we're in a good position as a group because we haven't got too many injuries, other than Adam Smith with his knee and Luke Tuttle and Gary Starling who are longer-term problems.
'The Norfolk Senior Cup final is mid-May, which is after the the league and play-offs have finished. If we get there it can give the players another incentive.'
Dereham, now eighth after not playing a league game in midweek, are just four points off the play-offs with plenty of matches in hand on their rivals.
On Saturday they welcome lowly Heybridge Swifts to Norfolk before hosting another side at the wrong end of the table – Barkingside – on Tuesday evening.
If results go their way, Dereham could be just one point behind their Norfolk rivals Wroxham by this time next week.