Royals are on revenge mission at Dereham
Jonathan Redhead Kirkley & Pakefield head to Dereham today intent on continuing their climb up the Ridgeons League Premier Division. Two wins from two home games against Leiston and Norwich United over the festive period has lifted the Royals up to fifth place.
Kirkley & Pakefield head to Dereham today intent on continuing their climb up the Ridgeons League Premier Division.
Two wins from two home games against Leiston and Norwich United over the festive period has lifted the Royals up to fifth place.
And they will be keen to gain revenge on the Magpies who climbed an excellent 3-0 victory at Walmer Road earlier in the season - one of the highlights of an indifferent season to date for Matty Henman's side.
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But K&P joint boss Stewart Larter is expecting a tough test for his side at Aldiss Park.
"I don't think our record's particularly good against Dereham, home or away," he said.
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"They've had a bit of an indifferent season. I did expect them to be up there and challenging to be honest after they had a really good pre-season.
"I think they've had a few injuries and a bit of lack of form, but they're a good side and they showed that at Walmer Road when they won there, so it'll be a tough game."
Larter will again be looking to leading scorer Nathan Stone who has bagged 20 goals this season to continue his recent excellent form.
Stone bagged two against Suffolk rivals Leiston in the Boxing Day derby clash and then weighed in with the winner in the 2-1 victory over the Planters on Monday.
The K&P boss has praise for his front man who has not always played in his favoured central striking role this season.
"That's 20 for the season now for Nathan, and when you look back, he was in and out of the side at the start of the season," Larter said.
"He worked really hard to get back and he not played probably in his favourite position for the majority of that either.
"We've played him wide a in a five in midfield generally, and to get 20 at this point in the season is great."
The Royals may also look towards new signing Andy Key to weigh in with some goals after his recent arrival from Wroxham.
He could be in line for his first start against Dereham with winger Chris Henderson suspended.
"We've got no new injury worries, although Chris Henderson is suspended after picking up five bookings, but we've just brought Andy Key in and he's looked quite good in the two games he has played," Larter said. "He hasn't started those games but possibly that'll be an option for us."
In Division One, Thetford Town travel to Diss tomorrow full of confidence after holding leaders Yarmouth to a draw on Tuesday.
The Tangerines are fourth in the table while Thetford are 11th and there will be heightened rivalry as some players have links to both clubs, explained Thetford manager Mark Scott.
"It's a bit of a local derby," he said. "They will be up for it. It should be a very interesting game.
"I'm very optimistic - I think we can get something from the game if we play with the determination and character we saw against Yarmouth. We're more than capable of doing it.
"We've then got two home games, against Downham and Whitton, so hopefully January will be a good month."
Having drawn with then leaders Clacton earlier in the season, Thetford repeated the trick on Tuesday night by drawing 1-1 with current table toppers Yarmouth.
Scott said it was a very pleasing result: "We did ride our luck but held our nerve and played some nice football. It was a difficult game but the character of the lads and the camaraderie is fantastic."
Yarmouth will aim to bounce back against lowly Stowmarket today.