Graphic: In-form Norfolk duo Dereham Town and Wroxham ready for ‘bigger’ Ryman League derby encounter
- Credit: IAN BURT
Bragging rights are up for grabs tonight when Dereham Town lock horns with fierce rivals Wroxham.
Aldiss Park will play host to a mouth-watering derby as Norfolk's Ryman Division One North clubs go head-to-head for the first time this term. The Step Four duo are in fine form with both threatening a serious play-off push leaving the hosts' manager Matt Henman to admit the Yachtsmen's recent renaissance has ramped up interest in this evening's clash.
Dereham's boss said: 'It is probably bigger than last season. Wroxham have obviously got a changed side and they've brought in a bit of experience and quality.
'I don't think it's any surprise to see them doing so well with what they've invested into their squad. The game's probably going to have a feel about it like it did when we were both towards the top-end of the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division.
'Everybody expected us to beat them last season, which we did, but it's going to be a little bit different now. We're in good form though, we're confident, and we're looking forward to the match.'
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The Magpies did the double over Wroxham during their maiden Ryman League campaign but much has changed since then. While Henman's troops have continued to impress following promotion in 2013 – sitting eighth and having won six of their last seven matches in all competitions – their county compatriots have drastically turned their fortunes around.
The Trafford Park outfit only remained at this level thanks to a relegation reprieve but now sit fifth having won six games on the bounce. Stewart Larter replaced Pawel Guziejko at the helm in the summer and has already enjoyed many more happier away days.
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Saturday's 5-0 victory at Aveley was their seventh Division One North triumph on the road, a remarkable record considering they only collected 11 points outside of Nelson's County during Guziejko's ill-fated nine-month reign.
Wroxham assistant and former Norwich City player Cedric Anselin, who will take charge for the second game in a row with Larter absent again, said: 'I think it's fantastic to have two local clubs doing well. But we look at ourselves and in derby games you always want to give more than 100pc. It is going to be tough but we are ready.'
Red-hot striker Christy Finch, who moved from Gorleston along with Larter and a host of players during the close season, bagged four times at the weekend and will be looking to add to his impressive 20-goal tally.
While the Yachtsmen have a full complement of players to choose from, Dereham are without Frazer Blake-Tracy (ankle) and Liam Upton (concussion).
Ryan Hawkins (groin) is a doubt but Jay Eastoe-Smith, Sam Borrer, Olly Willis and Toby Hilliard all return after missing the 3-1 weekend win over Maldon & Tiptree.
The last six league meetings
26/12/13 Dereham 4 Wroxham 0 (Ryman Division One North)
26/08/13 Wroxham 1 Dereham 2 (Ryman Division One North)
09/04/12 Dereham 0 Wroxham 3 (Thurlow Nunn Premier Division)
26/12/11 Wroxham 2 Dereham 1 (Thurlow Nunn Premier Division)
25/04/11 Wroxham 2 Dereham 1 (Thurlow Nunn Premier Division)
01/03/11 Dereham 2 Wroxham 1 (Thurlow Nunn Premier Division)