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Swaffham Town host managerless Downham Town in Thurlow Nunn derby

Downham manager Pawel Guziejko
Downham manager Pawel Guziejko

A West-Norfolk derby kicks off the weekend’s local football action, when Swaffham Town welcome local rivals Downham Town to Shoemakers Lane tonight (7.45pm).

The Pedlars are sure to go into the game in high spirits having triumphed 4-0 at Diss Town on Tuesday night, while managerless Downham Town will be looking to get off the mark after failing to take any points from their opening three encounters of the new campaign.

On Wednesday night, the Downham board released a statement saying that they had accepted the resignation of manager Pawel Guziejko, who had been in charge at the Memorial Field for 18 months.

The statement read: “Downham Town FC can confirm that they have decided to part company with first team manager Pawel Guziejko.

“The board accepted his resignation earlier today and would like to thank him for his service and hard work during his time with the club.

“Pawel has been an excellent coach and we wish him all the best for the future.

“The club feels that a change in leadership is required for its current players and the process of appointing a new manager to take the club forward will begin.

“We have a tough local derby on Friday night against Swaffham and all our efforts will be making sure that the lads are prepared for this.

“No further comments will be made at this time.”

Despite tDownham’s poor start to the season, Swaffham boss Paul Hunt is taking nothing for granted going into the fixture.

Hunt said: “It is a local derby, and for me form goes out of the window so we will be focusing on getting the job done and putting in the best performance we can.

“We know Downham have had a tough start to the season and have already come up against some of the sides you will expect to see there or thereabouts at the end of the season, so I think their league position is a bit false at the moment and we certainly won’t be taking them lightly.”

Joe Jackson, Alex Vincent and Nick Castellan were all on the scoresheet for Swaffham at Brewers Green Lane on Tuesday evening, but the most memorable goal of the night came courtesy of Matthew Blackford on his first team debut.

The youngster was one of five changes Hunt made to his starting XI for the clash.

The Swaffham chief was full of praise for the Pedlars who stepped into the first team and believes they had helped put his side in a strong positon going into tonight’s clash.

Hunt said: “I made five changes from the side that played at Bedford on Saturday to make sure that we didn’t run some players into the ground and to keep everyone in the squad fit and I am delighted with how solid we looked.

“It was really pleasing to see Mattie (Blackford), who was our Under-18 team’s leading goal scorer last season, step up to the first team and get his goal and it was also great to see Liam Reed feature in for his first start for the club for more than a year after recovering from a groin injury.

“All the lads that came into the side did brilliantly and we have kept the momentum building going into the derby and it shows just how far some of these players have come and how quickly they are developing.”

Luis Duarte missed the victory over Diss through injury and is expected to remain sidelined for tonight’s fixture which Swaffham go into third in the First Division standing, while Downham sit second from bottom at this early stage of the season.

Elsewhere this weekend, King’s Lynn Town Reserves travel to Needham Market Reserves in Division One tomorrow.

Fakenham Town travel to Hadleigh United in the Premier Division with the Ghosts looking to put Saturday’s frustrating defeat to Wivenhoe Town behind them.

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