Simmons easing into life in hot seat as Magpies face a tough test in Cup

Dereham Town manager Neal Simmons. Picture: Ian Burt

Dereham Town manager Neal Simmons. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Neal Simmons has a near-perfect advertisement for non-league football.

In these days of trying to compete with the might of the big earners in the pro game it’s a simple philosophy. “We have to attract people here and make it worth paying the £8 we have to charge,” said Dereham Town’s new manager.

“We need success, good football and to show we care. We need it to be part of their life, so the supporters live and breathe it, just like we do.”

Simmons knows that the cornerstone is success, and for the new boy – albeit with years of experience as assistant to the man he took over from, Matt Henman – it’s a case of so far, so good.

Two wins out of two to start the Bostik North campaign – one at home, one away, both by a single goal – have set the Magpies up nicely for a major FA Cup preliminary round challenge today when Corby Town, a side relegated from Step Three last season, visit Aldiss Park.

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“Yes, it’s been a bit of a dream start,” said Simmons.

“But this is a major test against Corby – they have lots of experience and will come and have a real go.”

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Corby are managed by former Norwich City and King’s Lynn winger David Bell and include ex-Linnets Jason Lee and Sam Mulready plus veteran keeper, 47-year-old Paul Bastock.

“It’s a tough game, but fortunately we know a little bit about a few of their players so that helps us,” added Simmons, who will be without defender Jake Anema.

Swaffham Town have a trip to Bedford Town, while Wisbech Town entertain higher-level Spalding United.

The Fenmen beat Sleaford 9-1 in midweek – their biggest win since an 11-1 success at Clacton in the 1996/97 season – but boss Dick Creasey was still disappointed at the one his team conceded.

“I’m really disappointed to concede a goal. That’s been playing on my mind,” he said.

“I had them (Spalding) watched in midweek; they’re a big, strong, good side so we’re going to have to be at our best to get something from the game,” Creasey added.

“But I can promise you that we will be giving everything we have got to make sure that our name is in the hat come Monday afternoon.”

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