King’s Lynn joint boss Setchell relishes Dereham test

King's Lynn joint boss Gary Setchell believes tonight's friendly test against Dereham at The Walks marks a step up in their pre-season preparations. (7.45pm)

The Magpies' beat Lynn to lift the Norfolk Senior Cup at Carrow Road last season and both clubs were Norfolk's best in their respective leagues – in Setchell's eyes an ideal opponent for the August 13 UCL league kick off.

'It will be a highly competitive game and we are focusing a lot this year on what we do when we don't have the ball,' he said. 'To be fair to Dereham, they always play good football and they are a side who keep the ball better than any side we have played in pre-season. In that respect it's an automatic step up and we then have the two big hitters next week when we play Histon and Bedford. We've been working on a few specific things so far because at times last year we got over-powered in bigger games. We need to be better equipped.'

Defender Stuart Wall (ankle) will not feature but Jamie Thurlbourne (hip) and Jack Defty (knee) returned after recent injury niggles for the patchy midweek friendly win at Newmarket.

'I was happy with the first half when we played a scratch side and those lads showed they were hungry to get a shirt for the league start,' said Setchell. 'On the other side of the coin, when we played the more established players we didn't perform to the same level. We had words and it will be addressed.

'We've left it in Jack's hands. The physio gave his opinion but Jack is more than happy with how his knee is. He says he is 100% and it's vital we get minutes into him whereas Jamie had his two weeks off and he came back the other night. The pair will probably go and play with the reserves on Saturday as well. Apart from a couple of players missing chucks of pre-season, I'm happy where we are at this stage. The ones who have done a full compliment of pre-season are looking fit, sharp and strong.'

Magpies' chief Matty Henman is expected to field some of his frontline troops after casting an eye over Dereham's younger talent in recent friendlies against Reepham, Mattishall and North Walsham.

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'After this week we've only got one more first team friendly before the league starts, so we're just trying to make sure players get enough minutes on the pitch,' he said. 'Then we can start looking at who is going to be in our starting XI for the first match.'

Dereham sold striker Danny Beaumont to the Linnets over the summer but Henman has drafted in midfielder Joe Marsden from Acle and Andrew Cusack, who can play at left back or in midfield. Marsden was a member of the successful Norfolk U18s team last term and has also played at youth level with Lowestoft, while Cusack has already established himself at Ridgeons level with Walsham.

'These two signings provide further competition for places with the talented squad we carried over from last season, which gives us a great chance to push on,' said Henman. 'That will probably be it in terms of new faces at the moment, although there is one more we are looking at as a possibility. We're happy with what we've got, although obviously if someone we're interested in becomes available we'll have a look at it.'