Ryman North rivals Wroxham and Dereham Town ready to do battle for play-off spot
- Credit: Ian Burt
The Ryman North play-off battle will heat up for Dereham and Wroxham this afternoon when the Norfolk rivals meet at Trafford Park.
The match will be a dress rehearsal for the Norfolk Senior Cup final, after both sides won their semi-final on Tuesday night – Wroxham winning 2-0 at home against Norwich United and Dereham beating Diss 3-1 at Aldiss Park. Dereham boss Matt Henman saw his side book their place in the Carrow Road showpiece thanks to two goals from Liam Wales and another from Craig Bussens.
The Magpies will be without defender Jay Eastoe-Smith though, who had to be taken to hospital with a knee injury, although an X-ray has confirmed the 24-year-old has not broken any bones.
Henman's side travel to Wroxham after back-to-back league defeats and a point below their rivals in the table, in sixth place, with a game in hand.
'Both sets of players will be well up for the match, so we won't have to work too hard for that. It is just such a crucial game for both sides,' Henman said.
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'I think it's fair to say that both sides have over-performed this year and with regards to the play-offs I don't think there is a lot of pressure on us.
'It will be more on them as the home side and at the end of the day Saturday won't decide what happens at the end of the season.'
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Dereham won the first meeting of the teams 2-0 in November – their third successive win against Wroxham – thanks to goals from Ryan Hawkins and Matt Hockley, but the Yachtsmen go into the game in better form having won three and drawn one of their last five league games.
Wroxham boss Stewart Larter said: 'I'm thinking of it as just another three points, it's as simple as that. It's another game against one of our rivals for the play-offs and we have to look at it like that.
'It is a massive game but if we get caught up in the emotion and the occasion then we won't get the three points. It's up to me and Cedric (Anselin, assistant manager) to ground the lads and make sure that we just play the game and not get caught up in the moment.'
Larter will be without winger Kyle Baker – who had to undergo surgery midweek and will be out for the foreseeable future – with Nathan Stone returning after missing the midweek Senior Cup win.
'I think that it will be a tight game and there's definitely a chance that both teams will cancel each other out,' Larter added.
'Hopefully this won't be the case as we're expecting a big crowd, there's been a lot of hype and hopefully it will live up to it.
'We will go out there looking to entertain and I know Dereham like to try and play the right way too so it's potentially going to be a really good football match.'