Vase postponement leaves Magpies without top scorer
Dereham Town and Lowestoft Town hope to get their chance to book home FA Vase quarter-finals today. Lowestoft, last season's losing Wembley finalists, are at home to Hungerford while Dereham face opponents from a little closer to home, as they travel to Ridgeons League Premier Division rivals Needham Market.
Dereham Town and Lowestoft Town hope to get their chance to book home FA Vase quarter-finals today.
Lowestoft, last season's losing Wembley finalists, are at home to Hungerford while Dereham face opponents from a little closer to home, as they travel to Ridgeons League Premier Division rivals Needham Market.
The Magpies are without leading scorer Paul Atkins through suspension following his sending off in the previous round. Ironically he would have played if the tie had been played last week as scheduled.
Town boss Matty Henman will also be without defender Stuart Garner, who is unavailable, but has drafted striker Joel Brien into his squad.
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Dereham have two coachloads and several fans heading under their own steam to Suffolk, but will face a stern taste in the shape of last season's losing semi-finalists. Needham were pipped by eventual winners Fylde - then Kirkham & Wesham - in 2008, but got their revenge by knocking out the holders in the previous round. There will be a 9am pitch inspection today to determine whether the match goes ahead at 3pm.
Lowestoft joint-manager Micky Chapman is staying clear of mind games as Town prepare to earn a home quarter-final against Bideford.
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While the Oxfordshire side have been keen to play the underdog card, Chapman is having none of it, saying: "They are a good side and one of the favourites. There's a lot coming out from their camp saying we're the favourites, but we won't listen to that psychological stuff. They've got a record that's very similar to ours, play at the same level and beat Leiston in the last round - so they are a quality side.
"We know we've got a job to do and we're under no illusions. Our mind is totally on the job in hand and we know that if we are right we can cause them problems, both individually and as a unit.
"But at the same time we have to guard against them causing us problems if we are not right."
Lowestoft's form has been excellent for most of this season - they are clear at the top of the Ridgeons League Premier Division and in the semi-final of the Suffolk Premier Cup - but with a home quarter-final tie against Bideford awaiting for this afternoon's victors, Chapman does not want minds to wander further than their Vase clash with Hungerford.
"We are totally focused on achieving what we want to achieve, and that's to progress into the quarter-finals," said Chapman. "It's a cup game where we've got to show a lot of passion. We have to have the quality, get the basics right, be organised, disciplined and show determination too.
"And as with every single game we play, we have to have a little bit of Lady Luck. We have one or two with niggling injuries and Darren Cockrill has not been well. But whatever happens, we'll be picking from a strong squad for the game."