Fakenham Town ready to jump their biggest hurdle yet, as Neil Jarvis leads the side that Wayne Anderson built into Norfolk Senior Cup final action at Carrow Road against Ian Culverhouse’s King’s Lynn Town
- Credit: Matthew Usher
Even by underdog standards, Fakenham Town have had it tough on their way to this season's Norfolk Senior Cup final – which should ensure no one takes them lightly on Monday night.
From battling with 10 men to controversially replayed games, the Ghosts did things the hard way reaching this season's showpiece against King's Lynn Town.
Yet tonight now looks like their biggest hurdle, following the shock departure of manager Wayne Anderson last month.
'It has been a little flat since Wayne left,' admitted Fakenham legend Neil Jarvis, who was Anderson's number two and now finds himself in caretaker charge for the Carrow Road final.
'We'd been together six or seven years, so we've been a proper team. So it's been difficult for myself, and also the players. The ones he brought in have been there five or six years and they are a close-knit bunch.
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'But you know what players are like. Once they cross that white line and the whistle goes, they're focused on the match.
'The build-up hasn't been quite the same but he'll be in the stands watching the boys and he's in regular contact with the players, and you can always guarantee 100pc from these lads through tough times.'
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The Ghosts have risen to every challenge so far – which bodes well ahead of facing a Linnets side that plays two levels higher.
'It was quite a tough cup run,' said Jarvis. 'Gorleston have been terrific this year. That was one of our best performances this season. Then Acle and Diss – who we had to play twice.
'The semi against Harleston was terrifically tough. We were down to 10 men just after half-time and once again the boys showed their quality by digging in, played through extra-time too.
'Lynn have many quality players but hopefully we will perform as individuals to the best of our abilities, and we'll see where it takes us.'
Fakenham have a clean bill of health – a squad indelibly marked by Anderson and Jarvis.
'I played a small part in the cup run and the development of these players, but Wayne's been the main man,' said Jarvis.
'It's his team, he built it, he signed players – but also we've both worked at under-18 level for the last six or seven years, and brought through a good crop into the first team and who will be figuring on Monday evening.
'There's a lot of pride in that. When you develop players and see them progress and flourish in the first team set-up, and now they've got a big stage to go and play, I'm really pleased for them.'
As for Jarvis' own future, he added: 'I'm not sure. I could just do with a nice break. It's been an extremely challenging season. We'll get the final out of the way, sit down and go from there.'