Thurlow Nunn League preview: Wisbech Town boss Appleby wants side to get back to basics
Wisbech Town boss Steve Appleby is looking for his side to get back to basics as the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division title race continues to hot up.
The Fenmen's scorching form came to a halt on Saturday when they lost their first game in 10 matches at struggling Felixstowe & Walton United.
However, fellow challengers Dereham Town and Mildenhall also slipped up, and now Appleby wants to make sure the Fenmen return to winning ways this afternoon when they host Thetford.
The Wisbech boss said: 'I still think four or five teams will be challenging for a long, long time. Then nearly towards the back end of the season two or three teams will probably split away.
'Everybody was looking at Brantham at the start of the season and they had a slow start but they're right up there. You've got Dereham, Mildenhall, ourselves, Hadleigh and even Stanway - who I've always rated - who many said would be involved and that's still the case.
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'We've lost one and drawn two of the last three in the league which is a bit of a blip by our standards. But for God's sake, we're second, sitting pretty, and it's only November.
'It's bad that we've not taken advantage of other teams dropping points but it's good that we've not been hurt by us not winning. We need to get back on track. I just think we've tried to do too much individually of late and we need to get the basics right and keep the ball moving.
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'We've just had a timely reminder that we can't be too confident. It'll help us keep our feet on the ground and ensure we do the simple things.'
Defender Anthony Reeve (suspended) and Scott Johnson (unavailable) will miss the visit of mid-table Thetford. Stacy Cartwright returns to the squad.
Another manager hoping his side's weekend defeat acts as a wake-up call is Kirkley & Pakefield chief Paul Tong.
The Royals paid the price for a sloppy start at home to Haverhill on Saturday when two goals in the opening four minutes condemned them to defeat. And Tong insists he won't be afraid to wield the axe if complacency starts to creep into his squad.
He said: 'Our attitude hasn't been good and I think we've got complacent. The lads probably looked at the fixture on paper and thought this should be another win for us – unfortunately games aren't played on paper.
'Haverhill at home probably looked like a bit of a banker to some but it's a wake-up call for everyone.
'To go two goals down within four minutes was very frustrating – we completely switched off and paid the price for it but you've got to give Haverhill credit – they took their chances and we couldn't find a way back into the game.'
Kirkley visit Woodbridge today without Scott Woodcock (suspended) and should be missing almost fit-again Lee Hunter and Kyle Baker in their squad.
Tong said: 'We're getting some competition for places – Lee Hunter is continuing his way back and Kyle Baker is making good progress – he should be in action for the reserves at the weekend.
'No-one has got a divine right to be in the side. I can't take anything away from how the lads have been since I've come in but we must keep working hard if we are to make the target that I've set them.
'We've already slipped behind it and it's time we got ourselves back on track.'
Elsewhere in the Premier Division, Dereham - who lost their unbeaten league record at the weekend - host Godmanchester Rovers and Diss welcome Felixstowe, Norwich United travel to table-topping Mildenhall while Gorleston visit Stanway.
In the First Division, Swaffham Town will be looking to make it three wins on the bounce in all competitions when they host Debenham LC. Downham Town visit Halstead and Great Yarmouth travel to Whitton.
Downham are without Matthew Castellan (county duty), Matty Franks and Luke Fisher (both unavailable).