Norfolk Senior Cup: Magpies boss wants to finish off campaign in fine style against Thetford
Dereham Town joint boss Adam Gusterson wants the Magpies to provide "a fitting end" to their season when they take on Thetford Town in the final of the Norfolk Senior Cup at Carrow Road this evening (kick-off 7.30pm).
Gusterson and Olly Willis took the reins at Aldiss Park in January after the club parted ways with Neal Simmons and led them away from the bottom of the Bostik North table to a comfortable mid-table position.
A win this evening would cap a fine second half of the campaign which looked unlikely at the end of 2018 when Dereham looked destined for relegation.
Gusterson hopes his players grasp their opportunity on the big occasion at Carrow Road.
“It's about who turns up on the night, who handles the occasion and I believe we have the characters and temperament within our group to ensure we do this,” said Gusterson, whose side set up tonight's clash with a 6-1 hammering of Swaffham at the FDC in the semi-final. “If we can get the result we want it will be a fitting end to what has been an outstanding second half of the season and we are fully focused in trying to make sure this is the case.
“It's an exciting game and as a club we are very much looking forward to it. These are the type of games why everybody is involved in football in whatever capacity.
“It means a lot to me that the people who work so hard behind the scenes and our terrific supporters get an opportunity to support their club in a final at Carrow Road. Tuesday is as much about them as it is the players.”
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Dereham will be the favourites, playing a step higher than Thurlow Nunn Premier Division side Thetford. However, Gusterson knows the Brecklanders are capable of hurting his side if they don't approach the game in the right way.
“We know Thetford have some talented individuals and it is going to be a tough game. However we know if we perform to our levels and get our attacking threats into the game we are a very difficult side to stop and our form in 2019 has given us real belief in our quality as a team.
Thetford, perhaps with one eye on this evening's clash, finished their league campaign with a 3-1 defeat at home to Long Melford on Saturday.
Manager Danny White admitted that it's been a frustrating season although victory tonight would certainly put a different slant on the campaign.
“Overall the season hasn't gone exactly how we planned although reaching the final of the Norfolk Senior Cup is a very good achievement,” he said. “We have already reflected and discovered only three players have been available for every game this season. We have been unfortunate to lose players through moving clubs, being injured, suspended, through travelling, through holidays, work commitments or getting married. I genuinely believe if we had a full strength squad to select from all season we would be in a much better league position.”
White said Town are likely to be at full strength for the final and hopes his players can seize the occasion at the home of Norwich City.
“Everyone at the club is looking forward to this game and hoping to give a good account of ourselves,” he added.
“All I want is for the lads to go and enjoy the occasion and leave everything on the pitch. I want them to express themselves and have the belief we can go and win the game.
“Dereham are a well organised and a very good team, they have individual players that can hurt us but also know their weaknesses and where we may be able to exploit them.”