Non-league rivals Dereham Town and Fakenham Town do business

Dion Frary has swapped the Ghosts for the Magpies this summer. Picture: IAN BURT

Dion Frary has swapped the Ghosts for the Magpies this summer. Picture: IAN BURT - Credit: Ian Burt

Director of football Geoff Saunders admits Fakenham Town were always fighting a losing battle to hang on to Dion Frary, writes Gavin Caney.

Higher-level neighbours Dereham Town have signed the talented midfielder – the Ghosts' supporters' player of the season – and immediately tied him down to a two-year contract. Saunders concedes the 17-year-old's rise through the ranks at Clipbush Park was inevitably going to see bigger clubs come calling.

He said: 'Dion has done exceptionally well for us during his time with the club, both on and off the field.

'He has also been an excellent ambassador for Fakenham Town when with the Norfolk Under-18s team. He enjoyed an excellent season in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division after earning his place in the team so it is no surprise to see an opportunity at a higher level come his way.

'Dion is a very popular lad at Clipbush Park and we wish him all the very best for his move to Dereham.'

The product of the Ghosts' youth system made his first team debut in October 2013 as a 16-year-old substitute away to Diss Town in a League Cup tie. He added two more cup outings in 2013/14 before earning a starting spot in the league for the first time on the opening day of the 2014/15 season, less than a month after turning 17, at home to defending champions Hadleigh United.

Frary went on to make 28 Premier Division starts in 2014/15 and added a further five substitute appearances, scoring four goals. He also made five appearances in cup competitions without scoring.

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That move is not the only transfer to involve the busy Magpies and their manager Matt Henman this week. Michael Clunan has swapped Dereham for King's Lynn Town while fellow midfielder Jake Anema is also moving up the pyramid – this time leaving Anglian Combination Premier Division Mattishall to join the Ryman North Magpies.

Henman said: 'Jake is a local lad and has the versatility and ability to play in the Ryman League. We believe Jake can have the same impact as other players we have recruited from the same level such as Luke Tuttle and Aaron Kay.'

Lynn boss Gary Setchell was equally pleased by his latest piece of work in the annual summer transfer merry-go-round.

He said: 'Michael is another good signing for us and he will give me another good option in the midfield areas.

'He is a great passer of the ball and is also very good at bringing others in to play. Despite this signing I'm still looking to bring in another centre half and, of course, a centre forward.'