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Norwich promised tough workout at Dereham

PUBLISHED: 08:00 22 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:59 06 July 2010

Dereham boss Matty Henman is promising Norwich a tough workout in tonight's pre-season friendly against a Canary XI at Aldiss Park. (7.45pm). Norfolk's premier Ridgeons League club won last season's corresponding fixture 2-1 thanks to a brace from City old boy Nicky Howell.

Dereham boss Matty Henman is promising Norwich a tough workout in tonight's pre-season friendly against a Canary XI at Aldiss Park. (7.45pm)

Norfolk's premier Ridgeons League club won last season's corresponding fixture 2-1 thanks to a brace from City old boy Nicky Howell. Norwich first team coach Ian Crook will take charge of a visiting squad expected to feature mainly new professionals and academy scholars - but Henman admits facing the Canaries is always an extra-special occasion.

“Yeah, it's a game we are looking forward to,” he said. “We've got a few players with Norwich connections and a lot of people at the club are Norwich fans so this is a great fixture for us. For my players it's also an opportunity to test themselves. With Norwich's standing in the county it's fantastic that they have agreed to come and play us.

“Hopefully they will include one or two pros, maybe a trialist here or there or even a new signing but at the end of the day whoever turns out will be representing Norwich City and that will be of huge interest for the spectators.”

Henman's squad have hammered reigning Ridgeons Premier champions Lowestoft 7-3 and neighbours Fakenham 9-0 ahead of the Canaries' high profile visit.

“We've had a brilliant start to pre-season,” he said. “The fitness is very good and we've been scoring a lot of goals so our build up to this game has gone well. We're in the middle of our pre-season but one of the concerns is that we don't peak too early. We're a young side and naturally very fit and we've tried to give all the lads 45 minutes here and there. We have worked extremely hard in pre-season after the boys came back in a good state. It will certainly be an excellent benchmark to see how our fitness stands up against some of their players.”

Henman is looking for fresh pointers ahead of a big season for the progressive non league club after a top four league finish and historic FA Vase run.

“We just want to take it on a stage again and like every club look to improve,” he said. “I think we should be looking to win things and the lads, I know, are determined to do that. In the league we finished just behind second place and with Lowestoft going out of the league there is an opportunity but we know it won't be easy because there are always other clubs who are committed to spending money.

“We're trying to evolve rather than throw money at it but if we can get better, and I'm sure we will, then we have a good chance of winning something. There's no way I'm going to say we will be satisfied with finishing fourth. The biggest thing is we have got a lot of continuity now. We haven't had to start from scratch again in the summer with a totally new squad. The nucleus is very much the same with the addition of one or two more people like Robbie Harris who will make us better.”

Henman plays down a repeat of last season's notable pre-season win over their more illustrious opponents.

“They brought a young side down that day with one or two pros and we acquitted ourselves well,” he said. “It wasn't really about the result but we performed well and things went for us on the day. I would have thought last year that fitness may have been a factor but the longer the game went we managed to stay with them and even scored the winner towards the end. They are obviously pros who train every day but our fitness is certainly something I and the boys pride ourselves on.”

The Magpies' chief also backs his Norwich counterpart to bring the good times back to Carrow Road.

“Personally, I have got a lot of respect Bryan Gunn because he has been good to us and it's a pleasure to come up against Norwich City,” said Henman. “It's an important season for both of us. We hope to have an exciting one and at our level we have our own agenda but being a Norwich fan I hope Bryan does well. I really believe they have the right man in charge and that he can help the club to have a really good season. We're totally behind Norwich and what they are trying to achieve for the county and we're very proud to be hosting them.”

Tickets are available on the gate at Aldiss Park tonight priced £6 adults, £3 children. Parking is also available for £2 per vehicle.

Aviva's X box Challenge summer tour stops off at Aldiss Park this evening with supporters who take part getting the chance to win tickets to Norwich's first League One game of the season.

The grand final takes place at the forum in Norwich on August 6 where the winners from heats across the county will battle it out for £500 in vouchers from Hughes electrical store and an opportunity to play a Norwich City football. Tonight's latest heat takes place in the function room at Aldiss Park prior to the game.

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