Downham Town prepare for home FA Vase derby against Swaffham Town

Craig Dickson hopes his Downham Town players can add to the club’s growing reputation by enjoying a good run in this season’s FA Vase.

The club has made an excellent start to life in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division ahead of the visit of local rivals Swaffham Town to the SCL Memorial Field on Sunday (3pm).

Dickson said: “We’d love a cup run, obviously the league is the priority but a run in the cup breeds excitement in the town and will hopefully bring the club closer to the community.

Joint Downham Town bosses Craig Dickson and Dale Stokes
Joint Downham Town bosses Craig Dickson and Dale Stokes

“These sort of games are always unpredictable but we’d love to get to the stage where we visiting and hosting new clubs and maybe a decent away day. Personally, it’s one of my aims for the club over the next few seasons.”

Downham – currently sitting third in the Premier Division standings – have hit the ground running this season following their promotion from the First Division North and their squad contains a good blend of youth and experience.

“We’ve had a positive start to the season and winning games only evaluates the confidence within the group,” said Dickson.

“I’ve said for a couple of seasons these boys are Step 5 footballers, so hopefully this start helps the belief in the group and we can continue to push the club forward on the pitch.

“It’s never easy playing your first five games away but we expect to be competitive whoever we play and turning performances into results is something we struggled with at the start of last season.

“We couldn’t really be happier with the start and the group of boys we’ve now got.”

Dickson added: “We had a few changes to the squad over the summer with a few new faces at the club. They have all slotted in very well with the group and you can see a real desire from the boys to perform every week as the squad is so competitive this season.

“Some of the football this season has been another step up on previous seasons and I hope we can continue our form into the upcoming home games.”

After a season of struggle last term, visiting Swaffham Town find themselves sitting in the First Division North play-off places after the first month of the new season.

The Pedlars – boosted by the goals of former Linnets striker John Sands – have won four of their opening five fixtures.

On Tuesday night, Kieran Bruce, Dylan Edge and Jack Frohawk were all on target in a 3-1 victory at Norwich CBS.

Joint Downham boss Dickson has the greatest respect for Swaffham as a club and drew comparisons of when both Dale Stokes and he took over managerial affairs at the Memorial Field.

“Swaffham is a good club, run by good people,” he said.

“We’ve had a close connection with them since Johnny (Alflatt) was appointed the manager over there and we wish them all the best in the league.

“They’ve had a great start to the season and it reminds me a little of when Dale and I first took over at Downham. Getting positivity around the group is key and knowing some of their boys, you can see they are starting to grow in confidence