Magpies desperate to play again

Football fans at Dereham and Fakenham will have fingers crossed that the weather will relent in time for a return to Ridgeons League action on Monday, writes John Cushion.

Premier Division leaders Dereham Town have a 12.30pm kick-off at Kirkley & Pakefield and Fakenham Town entertain Diss at 3pm.

While Dereham have maintained their form at the top of the table, the Kirkley outfit has slipped to fifth spot after being in the top three. They have 34 points from 24 games to the Magpies' 54 from 22.

Dereham supporters will have ears cocked for the result of the Wroxham-Leiston clash at Trafford Park, which has a 1pm kick-off.

The Yachtsmen are seven points behind Dereham having played the same number of games, while Leiston are third, 12 points adrift but with five games in hand through their success in the FA Cup and FA Vase. They have reached the fourth round of the Vase.

Wroxham manager David Batch has clearly not given up hope of claiming the Ridgeons championship, having strengthened his side with three new signings over the holiday period.

Prolific striker Danny Bloomfield has been signed from Lowestoft Town, experienced midfielder Andy Heald, who has won two Conference runners-up medals, has come from northern club Leigh Genesis, and striker Ben Thompson has re-signed after returning to the area.

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Fakenham manager Wayne Anderson is confident his side can climb to mid-table security in the First Division, where they are fourth bottom.

A Diss team sitting third and determined to claim the promotion place which eluded them last season will be stiff opposition on Monday, however.

The Ghosts have yet to replace striker Karl Pask, likely to be out for the rest of the season with a broken ankle, but their search on-going.

Fakenham have 13 points from 15 games, rueing points dropped in matches where they were worth wins or at least draws.

Six more points would have seen them in the top 10, but they have scored just 16 league goals.

Diss come with a record of 29 points from 14 matches, the third-best scoring record in the section (37) with only one side having conceded fewer than their 17.

The main Anglian Combination programme does not resume until January 8.

Wells have sat out the cold spell as leaders of Division One while Mattishall are in fourth spot in the Premier Division, the area's best-placed teams.

n The Met Office forecast for January 1 to 10 is for largely dry, cool and cloudy conditions, the extreme cold of recent weeks not likely to be repeated at the moment.