Crunch clash for Ryman North Dereham Town’s top-five hopes
- Credit: Ian Burt
Dereham Town can strengthen their promotion push this evening by picking up points from one of their main Ryman North play-off rivals.
The Magpies have won eight of their last 11 matches in all competitions and sit sixth – perfectly placed to make a late-season assault on the top five. Matt Henman's troops have games in hand on all of their rivals including third-placed Brentwood Town who they visit tonight.
A victory in Essex would help close the gap on one of the sides they're hoping to dislodge to reach the end-of-season shoot-out and Henman knows how important getting a positive result will be in the crunch clash.
The Dereham manager said: 'It is a big game. We wouldn't want them or any team in the top-five putting even more distance between us and themselves.
'Sudbury went there and won recently and our record against the top six is very good. I think it's only Harlow (second) we haven't beaten. So that gives us a lot of confidence going into the match – knowing we can beat these big sides – and also for if we get to the play-offs.
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'Sudbury are flying under Jamie Godbold (former Kirkley boss) and they're certainly in a pack of five, which will include one of either Harlow or Needham who won't go on to win the league, that I think are going for four places. There might be a few others who can still get involved. So I think we go knowing that we need a minimum of a point, but as always we'll be trying to get all three.'
Debutant Ross Bailey's late goal at the weekend helped Dereham – five points behind Sudbury in fifth having played three matches less – edge Cheshunt 1-0. It was a priceless strike with Godbold's troops and Harlow playing out a 1-1 draw and Wroxham losing. Brentwood beat Waltham Abbey 3-2.
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Dereham travel without the services of Dan Morphew (university), Michael Clunan (work), Toby Hilliard (ill), Matt Hockley (unavailable), Adam Smith and Luke Tuttle (both injured).