Dereham Town aim to carve out their own niche in FA Cup history
Dereham Town boss Matt Henman insists there will be no inferiority complex when the Magpies host higher league Chasetown in today’s FA Cup second-qualifying round tie at Aldiss Park (3pm).
The Scholars have a famous recent pedigree in the competition after reaching the third round proper back in 2008 before losing to eventual Wembley finalists Cardiff City. Henman’s men continued their faultless start to the new campaign with a 10th straight win in all competitions against Thurlow Nunn Premier Division rivals Gorleston in midweek.
Chasetown look set to battle it out for promotion with King’s Lynn in the Evo-Stik Division One South this season one step higher in the pyramid – but Henman believes the tie is too close to call.
“Teams will be stronger, more organised and better quality the higher you go, but we feel at the moment we are almost performing at that level anyway,” he said. “They look like possibly a middle-bracket team in the league above so if we play well we are capable of getting a result.
“It is quite difficult in the FA Cup because you don’t get too much time from when the draw is made to the actual game to prepare. They went to a replay as well so between them winning that there has only been one league game. Unfortunately we have not had the chance to watch them play live. We’ll be prepared and make sure we know what we need to know, but most of all, it is about making sure we are right.”
Henman views cup progress on multiple fronts as a healthy distraction to league priorities.
“I think cup success can generate confidence and belief in the league and vice versa and obviously with the cups there is an important financial aspect,” he said.
“If things go well that might be the difference to adding a bit of quality at important times in the season – if we feel we need to add to the squad to give people a hand. If you have a few extra thousand in the bank from cups then it is possible to do that. The dream for someone at our level is to get as close as we can to the first round proper and we are still three wins away from that. “Every round you get through, the prize money is better. Conceivably we could get a Conference side if we got through this round, but really we are not looking that far ahead.
“With the FA Vase, teams like Wroxham and Lowestoft have shown in the past that clubs from our league are capable of getting to the later stages; if we maintain our form that is not out of the question. We have S&L Corby in the FA Vase and we beat them in the FA Cup earlier this season so we have to be confident.”
Henman and his coaching staff will ensure the Magpies’ squad do not get carried away after such an impressive start to the season.
“We just have to remind the players why we are winning and guard against the mindset where they think they just have to turn up to win,” he said. “You have to work hard to win every game. I don’t want us to take our foot off the gas. Winning helps the team spirit but everything at the minute is going really positively. We don’t want to take anything for granted or get too far ahead of ourselves. It’s just important to look for ways to improve and there are certainly one or two areas of the squad we think we can do that still. Really, we want to try and break the season up into little chunks and then set ourselves mini targets.”