Magpies make signings before big kick-off

Dereham Town manager Matt Henman made two signings this week, Billy Smith and Chris Horton, formerly of Wisbech Town.

He said: 'Billy can play in a number of positions in attacking areas and provides us with an option of pace and energy, which will be a real asset to our team.

'Chris is a 23 year old 6ft 3in goalkeeper who made his first team debut for Wisbech aged 16.'

For Saturday's first match of the season, at home to Walsham-le-Willows, the Magpies will be missing Olly Willis, Olly Thomson and Jay Eastoe Smith through holidays and Nathan Howard, Stu King, Lewis Butcher through injury.

New signings Billy Smith, Joe Marsden, Andrew Cusack and Chris Horton come straight in to squad, as do 16-year-olds Callum White and Sam Pledger.

Dereham Town and Fakenham Town return to Ridgeons League football action on Saturday and Tuesday with hopes of success high at both Aldiss Park and Clipbush Park.

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Matt Henman's Dereham have to follow the Magpies' most successful season ever when they were runners-up in the Ridgeons championship and Norfolk Senior Cup winners.

At Fakenham, Wayne Anderson has the task of getting the Ghosts well away from the wrong end of the First Division, and is confident the goal-scoring problem of recent campaigns has been solved, writes John Cushion.

Both clubs start off with two home games.

On Saturday, Dereham entertain Walsham-le-Willows, followed by Ely City on Tuesday (7.45pm), ahead of the August 20 FA Cup extra preliminary round tie at Wroxham.

Fakenham are at home to Brightlingsea Regent on Saturday, followed by Downham on Tuesday (7.45pm).

Magpies' manager Matt Henman said he was pleased with his squad, although one late addition might come this week.

Pre-season had been a bit hit and miss with players unavailable, 'but I am very happy with the make-up of the squads.'

He said he had been pleased with the younger players and pointed out that he had a very good nucleus of players who have been competing at Ridgeons level for three or four years. Even in their early or mid-twenties, they already had a lot of top-flight experience.

He did not want to put pressure on players by setting targets. 'We have a good chance of competing at the top of the league and winning a trophy. Over a period of five to 10 years we will always be in a position where we compete and try to progress.'

Fakenham manager Anderson was pleased at the way new signings had blended in. 'There is a friendly mood in the dressing room, they are up for the new season.

'They are working as a side and we have had a good pre-season.'

Striker Karl Pask is now injury-free and has scored in friendlies. The a list of signings inlclude Ade Hayes, Kristian Jones, Rory Harper, Danny Rasberry, Carl Plumb and Matt Cross – a full-back signed from Dereham – among the new faces.

'We are looking more than capable of scoring more than a few goals this season,' said Anderson, who said a realistic target was a top-half finish.