Wroxham boss Batch relishing Norfolk derby

Wroxham boss David Batch insists tonight's Ridgeons Premier Division derby against Dereham at Aldiss Park is not win or bust for the Norfolk pair's title chances. (7.45pm)

Batch's second-placed side are currently five points adrift of FA Vase quarter-finalists Leiston, having played four games more. The Magpies are three points further in arrears but have played only one match more than the runaway leaders, who host FA Clacton this evening. Batch believes the champions-elect can still be overhauled.

'It looks like Leiston have sown it up but just before Christmas we were seven points behind Dereham and I looked back at previous seasons and from that position no club had failed to go on and win the league,' he said. 'There is still 45 points or so to play for and that is a lot. I witnessed at first hand last year the impact of playing a lot of cup games can have. They have to play ourselves and Dereham twice in their last three or four games so it could potentially go right to the end. That's why even a point at Dereham might not be a bad one because that might be the difference between first, second or third. You just don't know.'

Dereham's weekend Ridgeons home game was postponed due to heavy rain along with the majority of the local programme. Batch is looking forward to the clubs' first league meeting of the season with tonight's contest re-arranged from the Christmas period.

'If it was our pitch then you might be worried but it's a good flat surface over there so I don't really have any concerns the game won't go ahead,' he said. 'It's a nice game to have with a bit of added spice when you always play another Norfolk side but it is only three points on offer and we have to bear that in mind. Dereham are really doing well this year and that perhaps makes the game even more special. It's just a shame it wasn't played when we were originally scheduled to meet because both clubs were flying. We had lost something like one in 12 but since then our form has dipped and we lost a few games when I wasn't on the touchline and one just after I came back.'

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Batch brought in experienced trio Andy Heald, Ben Thompson and Danny Bloomfield mid-season as he looks to build on last year's FA Vase run.

'Every team I have been involved in has finished higher than the previous season,' he said. 'It's about continually trying to progress. I'm a great believer if you just standstill in football then you'll end up going backwards because other teams are always looking to develop.'

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