Pre-season FRIENDLY? Appleby urges Wisbech Town to relish clash with rivals King’s Lynn Town

WISBECH Town boss Steve Appleby has urged his troops to relish the first clash with their fiercest rivals for nine years.

The Fenmen have not played King’s Lynn since July 2003 - seven years before they relaunched as King’s Lynn Town. But tomorrow the sides will meet in a pre-season derby that promises to be anything but a “friendly”.

Appleby’s squad includes ex-Linnets such as Paul Cousins, who had a brief spell at The Walks last summer before he was released following an internal dispute.

Appleby said: “Cousi (Cousins) is absolutely fine about going back. We haven’t discussed it and we won’t be discussing it.

“As far as he is concerned he’s going to play against one of his ex-clubs and he wants to perform. That’s it.

“I’ve played for Lynn and so have others in the squad. We will focus on what happens on the pitch.”

Hundreds of fans will travel to The Walks for the pre-season clash.

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“I wish games like this happened every week,” said Appleby.

“They are the reason you play football - however unfriendly it may be it should make you play better.

“Do players want to play for Wisbech against King’s Lynn in front of 700 fans or against some village side with one man and his dog watching?

“This will be a competitive game and for the public it is one to see.”

The Fenmen look poised for a Thurlow Nunn Premier Division title challenge after Appleby bolstered his ranks over the summer.

Goalkeeper Lea Jordan joined Callum Reed in returning to the Elgood’s Fenland Stadium before strikers Simon Mowbray and Dubi Ogbonna and midfielder Rogan McGeorge signed.

The Fenmen are still assessing the fitness of centre-half Anthony Reeve, who has a long-term groin injury, but Appleby said “early signs are good”.

Appleby said: “This is the strongest squad I’ve had since being at the club but the proof is in the pudding. It’s the job of the management and the players to perform.

“We’ve got good competition for places now and we’ve needed that. That’s what other teams have had for years.”

Wisbech, who will host Desborough Town in the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round, begin their league campaign at home to Walsham-le-Willows on August 4.

Appleby added: “The pleasing thing is that, for once, the fixtures seem to have fallen into place and given us some early home games.

“As a supporter, there’s nothing better than getting to see the side at home at the start of the season.”