Norfolk Senior Cup tie against Gorleston is chance to save Thetford Town's season, says Danny White
Copyright Archant Norfolk 2016
It’s been a tough season for Thetford Town boss Danny White but he hopes there could be a silver lining in the Norfolk Senior Cup. Mark Armstrong reports
Thetford Town boss Danny White admits their Norfolk Senior Cup third round tie against Gorleston is a chance to save their season.
The Brecklanders entertain the Greens at Mundford Road on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 3pm) looking to emerge from what has been a difficult campaign so far in the league.
Hopes were high at the start of the campaign that White’s side could build on last season’s 12th-placed finish in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division but their season has been dogged by inconsistency so far.
White admits that player commitment has been an issue but hopes this afternoon is the ideal opportunity to get their season back on track.
“It’s a massive game for us – things aren’t going great at the moment and to be honest it could keep our season alive,” said White, whose side sit in 16th place in the table. “We’ve had issues with player commitment and when you are in a strong league you need your best players available – it’s been difficult.”
White admits during his playing days with Wroxham and King’s Lynn he would be scared to miss a training session for fear of losing his place in the starting XI.
“I don’t think football is necessarily a priority any more,” he added. “There are other factors for us as well – we’ve got a couple of RAF lads, so you obviously expect to be without them sometimes.
“When you’re without players like Robbie Priddle and Elliott Smith, it’s very difficult to replace players like that.
“The hardest thing is that they are a great bunch of lads. We proved last year that when we’re at it we’ll beat any team in this division.
“We just haven’t been able to pick a consistent side and that bears out in our results.”
One player that White has been able to rely on is Valta Rocha, who returned to Mundford Road in September following an ill-fated spell at King’s Lynn Town.
White admits the Brecklanders are lucky to have the big striker.
“He is unplayable at times – I’ve had conversations with opposition defenders and they just don’t know what to do with him,” said White.
“He got five the other day (against Whitton) and then he knocked in a 35-yard strike against Clacton.
“There’s no defender in this league that can live with him.
“He is a massively key player for us – as long as we’ve got him in the side then we’ve always got a chance.”
Whilst it didn’t work out for Rocha at The Walks, White acknowledges Rocha is capable of playing higher than Thetford can offer.
“I had a bet with him that he would be back within two months (from King’s Lynn),” he said. “I kind of know what they like at King’s Lynn from my time there.
“I didn’t think the team was set up for him and I don’t actually think he got enough of an opportunity.
“But it’s worked out well for us – he has committed to us for a season but there’s no doubt that he will at some stage go on and play higher.”
Rocha will be leading the line against Gorleston on Saturday and White hopes it can be the start of a run that takes them all the way to a final at Carrow Road.
“Gorleston are a bit of a bogey side for us – we battered them last season but they still managed to take points off us,” he said. “We obviously know all about Ryan Fuller – he is a very good player and we are expecting a very tough game.
“But if you can’t get up for a cup game like this then you really shouldn’t be in football.
“I think it’s (Norfolk Senior Cup) a great opportunity to get to a cup final at Carrow Road. I think we’ve got a real chance of going all the way this season and I’ve said it’s a chance for the lads to showcase what they’re all about.”