Wroxham gear up for Trafford Park return
Paddy Davitt Wroxham face Ridgeons Premier Division champions Needham Market tonight in their first Trafford Park outing since last season's FA Vase final. (7.45pm)David Batch's men knocked out Needham on their way to becoming only the second Norfolk side to reach Wembley in the prestigious national competition.
Wroxham face Ridgeons Premier Division champions Needham Market tonight in their first Trafford Park outing since last season's FA Vase final. (7.45pm)
David Batch's men knocked out Needham on their way to becoming only the second Norfolk side to reach Wembley in the prestigious national competition. Wroxham have already opened up with three pre-season friendly wins on the road and Batch has recruited ex-Yachtsmen's stalwart Damian Hilton from Needham for the new campaign along with long time Sheringham defensive target Steve Jordan.
“Damian is a great signing for us,” said Batch. “Last year when playing against Needham he was always the threat we were concerned with most and now that threat for other teams to deal with. He can hold the ball extremely well which will allow our attacking midfielders more opportunity to join in. He also won a title at Lowestoft playing at centre half so he gives us plenty of options.
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“Steve is not only a huge presence aerially at both ends of the pitch, he is mobile and comfortable enough with the ball. He is a player the club has been tracking for the past four seasons. With him, Graham Challen and Josh Carus, who will be available for every match after changing jobs, plus two others that can fill in there if needed we now have the quality we need in that position.”
Batch has re-signed the majority of Wroxham's FA Vase squad with the exceptions of King's Lynn Town-bound trio Martin McNeil, Steve Spriggs and Danny White whilst Gareth Simpson has joined Norwich United.
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“With the progression of younger talent like Ross Durrant, Matt Daniels and Andy Eastaugh I'm in the fortunate position where I do not have to find replacements from other teams,” he said. “Added to the players coming through, we have two new exciting signings and three triallists who have never played in the league before but have been very impressive in pre-season. We were very keen to keep Spriggsy because of that pace he brought to our side and I know it was a huge decision for the lad but the travelling was an issue. Both Danny and Martin said they wanted a fresh challenge and you have to respect that.
“Personally, I think it's a shame for the Ridgeons League that King's Lynn will not be in it but for them I think going the UCL route is a great move. I don't think they would win the Ridgeons at the first attempt but they are red hot favourites for the league they are going in. it's the right thing for them long term in the sense of going up the pyramid.”
Batch is confident the Yachtsmen will be more than competitive in the Ridgeons this season and rules out any lingering hangover from their Wembley heartache.
“There are two things I would say about that,” he said. “No-one within the club has actually mentioned Wembley since we came back for training, which surprised me, in a pleasant way. Ryan Giggs once said when asked what was his favourite achievement and his answer was, 'the next one,' and we have hard working lads not prima donnas - even though we were the second best team in the country at that level last season.
“Immediately after Wembley I know there was a sense they want to put it right and there is a steely resolve. We haven't sat down yet and set any targets but we would like to do better in the league and, of course, the cups again with Norwich City and King's Lynn in the Norfolk Senior Cup that competition will have a higher profile.”
The FA Vase finalists are appealing for a new shirt sponsor and other sponsors ahead of the league kick off on August 7. Any businesses or individuals interested in backing the Yachtsmen can contact chairman Tom Jarrett at email@example.com.
Wroxham were scheduled to face fellow FA Vase semi-finalists Barwell at Trafford Park on Saturday but the Leicestershire-based side have had to pull out. Any clubs without a fixture who would be interested in stepping in can contact secretary Chris Green at firstname.lastname@example.org or Batch via email@example.com