‘Disappointing season’ claims show how far we have come, insists Dereham Town boss Henman

Dereham Town boss Matt Henman has shrugged off claims the Magpies are enduring a disappointing season.

Fourth-placed Dereham were early pacesetters in the Ridgeons Premier Division but have slipped 11 points behind league leaders Wroxham following a mid-season slump.

However, after two wins on the bounce, an improved squad to choose from and a Ridgeons League Challenge Cup semi-final to look forward to, Henman insists there is no feeling of doom and gloom at Aldiss Park:

The Dereham boss said: 'From the outside people are saying we've had a disappointing season but we're fourth and in a cup semi-final.

'I wouldn't agree with them but I think at least it shows how far we've come in people's perception. If Wroxham don't win the league they will be disappointed but we haven't put any massive pressure on ourselves to win it. We're realistic and we're trying to achieve some longevity.

'We've been around the top four for a few seasons and although we want to progress this is not the right season to go up. We want to make sure we've got quality players right through the football club.

'We want them to grow with the club for the next few years as we develop.'

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Last season's Norfolk Senior Cup winners and league runners-up were scheduled to entertain Haverhill Rovers on Saturday but the game was postponed due to a frozen pitch, along with the rest of the Ridgeons League programme.

Henman's side travel to eighth-placed Woodbridge Town at the weekend and the Dereham boss is looking forward to another selection poser.

He said: 'I had lots of players available for Saturday so I was going to have to leave two or three out of the squad. While they'll be disappointed it's a far better situation for me to be in than we were at the end of last year.

'In November and December we had to bring 16-year-old lads on to try and affect the game. While they're very talented boys it's definitely a big ask. The squad certainly has a much more solid feel about it now.

'I've been able to affect the game off the bench because we've got more quality about us. I can also select the right players for the right type of games. It takes a bit more man-management but that's what running a club is all about. It's a nice headache to have.'