Ryman League: Dereham, Norwich United and Wroxham prepare for kick-off
- Credit: Wroxham FC
Dereham boss Matt Henman admits expectation levels have risen at Aldiss Park ahead of the new season.
The Magpies begin their fourth season at step four of the non-league ladder with a trip to Haringey Borough today and a home derby against Wroxham on Tuesday night. Finishes of seventh, twice, and ninth in Division One North since gaining promotion from the Thurlow Nunn League's have been encouraging.
But now Henman and his squad have set their sights somewhat higher as they look to take full advantage of a summer of stability.
'We do feel like we're in a good place,' he said. 'We don't have to force our recruitment. With the squad we've got already I feel we're in a really good position to achieve our highest Ryman League finish.
'If that happens it means we'll be right in the mix for the play-offs (positions two to five). For the past three seasons we've said it would be nice to get in there.
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'But now there's certainly an expectation from inside the dressing room that we have the ability and the togetherness to really compete during what is a long season, and have a couple of good cup runs.'
Adam Smith and Luke Tuttle are rated as 50/50 for the curtain-raiser at Haringey while Jake Anema is still on cricket duty.
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Wroxham – who were handed a relegation reprieve last season – start at home to Cheshunt.
Damian Hilton has bolstered his squad with a raft of signings, including striker Jordan Rocastle from Spixworth, who scored six against a Wroxham Legends team in last Saturday's testimonial for club stalwarts Alan Royall and Pat Penn.
Defenders Luke Appleton and Adam Plumstead, strikers Kyle Baker and Cruise Nyadzayo and youngsters Ben Fowkes and Robbie Sweeney also arrive, with utility players Ben Lewis and Payton Swatman both returning to the club.
Former Clacton manager David Coyle also comes in as assistant, as he works for Norwich City's academy and moved to the area.
Elsewhere, it will be an historic afternoon for Norwich United. The promoted Planters play their first game at the club's highest-ever level when they travel to Great Wakering Rovers, with a host of summer signings set to make their debuts – including winger Remy Gordon.