Cup final place further highlights Thetford’s rise with White at helm

NEW FACILITY: The Mayor of Thetford, Cllr Denis Crawford, unveiled the club's new clubhouse alongside chairman Nigel Armes. Picture: Elena Armes
NEW FACILITY: The Mayor of Thetford, Cllr Denis Crawford, unveiled the club's new clubhouse alongside chairman Nigel Armes. Picture: Elena Armes

Manager Danny White believes Thetford Town’s progression through to the final of the Thurlow Nunn League Challenge Cup is further evidence of the club’s recent development, on and off the pitch.

Between the 2012/13 campaign and the 2015/16 term, the Brecklanders finished no higher than 14th position in the top flight of the Thurlow Nunn League and actually required a relegation reprieve on one occasion.

But under White’s guidance, things have been turned on its head at Mundford Road, with last season’s seventh-placed finish their best since 1989/90.

And while things have not been quite as rosy in the league this term — currently placed 13th — they now have a first ever Challenge Cup final to look forward to against Brantham Athletic on May 7 at Diss Town FC (3pm).

It was a 2-0 home win over Stanway Rovers that sealed the passage through, with the goals coming courtesy of Valter Rocha and Andrew Wood.

For White, it is another step on what he hopes will be a continued upward curve.

“We felt we had a good chance in the Norfolk Senior Cup and were disappointed to go out. Same in the league, we have probably underachieved a little bit,” he said.

“It makes getting through to the final massive and it really keeps our season alive.

“People need to realise the size of the achievement, it is a real credit to the management, the players and everyone behind the scenes.

“This is a club that was getting used to struggling and constantly being involved in relegation fights.

“Now we are looking up and hopefully we can go on to win the cup and build on that momentum.”

Away from the playing side, things are also evolving nicely for Thetford.

Prior to the 2-1 win over Ely City last Friday, where Max Melanson scored both goals, the club officially unveiled its new state-of-the-art clubhouse.

It was made possible by a £100,000 grant from the Premier League, through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund.

“The new clubhouse looks great and things are really moving in the right direction,” added White.

“It is making Thetford a much more appealing club to play football for in the future.”

Before his match-winning impact, it was announced that Melanson — a scorer of 24 goals this term — had signed dual registration terms with Bostik League North Division side Lowestoft Town.

However, White has revealed the attacking midfielder’s first priority will be Thetford.

“Everyone knows Lowestoft’s financial problems and Max has signed to help them out,” he said. “But he will play for us first and only head over there if we do not have a game.”

Tomorrow Thetford face a tough-looking trip down the A14 to take on fourth-placed Histon (3pm).

The Stutes have lost just once since December 23.