Plenty of optimism in Dereham Town camp

Ryan Crisp has been ruled out of Dereham's home game against Heybridge Swifts' Picture: Ian Burt

Ryan Crisp has been ruled out of Dereham's home game against Heybridge Swifts' Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

Dereham may have exited the FA Cup in midweek, but manager Adam Gusterson saw enough from his side to be optimistic about their league ambitions.

The Magpies went out in a replay at higher level Needham Market and now turn their attentions to a home game against Heybridge Swifts.

The Essex side currently sit in sixth place in the BetVictor North table, having gained two more points than the Magpies from their opening four fixtures.

Swifts won the play-off final last season but were denied promotion due to the pyramid restructuring.

Gusterson's side will be full of confidence after their impressive displays against Needham,

"We were the better team and should have gone through so we are really frustrated we haven't," admitted Gusterson.

"The bigger picture is the level of our performance and the fact we have more than matched a side from the level above over two games, but we have to cut out the individual errors which are costing us at the moment."

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Gusterson believes his team can get results against anyone in their division.

"We know they are one of the top sides in the league and they will be expecting to gain promotion this year having won the play-offs last season, but I now feel we have a group that can go into these fixtures with the belief that we can compete and get a result and that speaks volumes for the quality we feel we now have in the squad."

Gusterson welcomes Ryan Hawkins, on loan from King's Lynn Town, back into the Magpies squad, although Ryan Crisp misses out through injury.

Swifts were the first team that Gusterson and joint manager Olly Willis faced when they took over from Neal Simmons back in January. Mired in a relegation battle, they suffered a 3-1 defeat at Aldiss Park that day, but fortunes soon took on an upwards trajectory and they finished the season 14th in the table.

This season they currently sit in 13th position, with one win from their four outings - but with that FA Cup boost behind them.