Debenham LC all set for top-of-the-table season-defining clash with Long Melford

Debenham LC's Kevin Barker (yellow) has been an integral part of the Hornets' success this season

Debenham LC's Kevin Barker (yellow) has been an integral part of the Hornets' success this season - Credit: Archant

Debenham LC head coach Stuart Reavell thinks that today’s top-of-the-table clash against Long Melford could define the rest of his side’s season.

The high-flying Thurlow Nunn First Division pair meet at Debenham Leisure Centre this afternoon (kick-off 3pm) in a match Reavell admits could be crucial.

“I think the outcome of the game will define the rest of our season,” claimed Reavell, whose third-placed side have home advantage over league-leaders Melford.

“We can beat Melford, I’m not saying we will, but we can.

“If we manage to win, we’ll show that we are good enough to stay at the top of the division and can have a strong end to the rest of the season.

“Anything less than a draw for us might dent our confidence though.”

There is no doubting that the Hornets, who finished in 12th position last season, are enjoying a fantastic campaign under Reavell, who took charge in the summer.

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“I think we are punching above our weight,” he continued.

“We’re going really well and have proved that we can beat and compete with the top sides in the division.

“Before the season started, we just wanted to get as many points on the board as we could, and to see how far that would take us.

“So far, that’s got us quite a way. We knew we could possibly challenge (at the top of the table), and the camp is really good at the minute, everyone is in good spirits.

“People are pulling together and things are looking very good. I am pleased that we are still in contention, but I would take – and be happy with – a top-six finish (at the end of the season) right now, although I think we can strive to do better.”

Debenham go into today’s game on the back of a 2-1 home win against Braintree Town Reserves, while Melford enter the fray having secured a last-gasp 3-3 draw against Saffron Walden, a team Reavell expects to win the division.

Reavell has added Luke Austin to his squad from Walsham-le-Willows for today’s game, the striker joining forces after scoring the winner for the Willows in a 2-1 triumph over Brantham Athletic last Saturday.

“Luke’s a player who will improve us,” Reavell said of his new arrival.

“He wants to play up front and knows where the net is.

“We’ve had to let Adam Rickwood go, he’s a lovely lad but wanted to play 90 minutes all of the time and I couldn’t offer him that.”

Reavell also feels that his side’s ‘never say die attitude’ could leave Debenham in good stead this afternoon.

“One of our recipes for success this season has been to never give up,” he continued.

“The lads never stop and don’t know when they’re beaten, even if they’re 2-0 down with minutes to go.

“Kevin Barker has been superb for us all season, as has Steven Fenner.

“I don’t want to single out any players though as everyone here has a great attitude and a great mentality.

“And that spreads right through the club – from the management team, to the players, to the committee, to the fans and everyone involved.

“I couldn’t ask for a better club to be in charge of.”

Kick-off today is at 3pm.

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