CHRISTMAS cheer will be put on-hold for 90 minutes in Ossett on Boxing Day when Albion and Town go head-to-head at the Warehouse Systems Stadium (kick-off 3pm).
The Evo-Stik Division 1 North duo will face each other for the first time this season and both will be desperate for a late present in the form of three crucial league points.
Albion are very much the form side going into the game thanks to a run of one defeat in six games but occupy one of the relegation spots and trail their neighbours by six points having played three games more.
Town are itching to get back on the pitch after seeing three games postponed due to bad weather following their 5-1 thumping at Garforth Town.
It sets-up what’s sure to be an enthralling festive local derby game and one that Town boss Phil Sharpe is eagerly anticipating.
“It’s a big local derby game and it’ll be great to play in, I’ve played in plenty myself so I know what they’re all about,” he said.
“There’s lots of rivalry, we have players such as Ryan White and Neil Bennett with us who used to play for Albion and they have players who used to play for us.
“Eric [Gilchrist] has been down to watch them play and they’ve picked up some good wins of late.
“If anything they’re probably favourites at the moment but if we play to the best of our abilities I think we’re a match for anyone in this division.”
Sharpe has just brought defender Rob Tonks back to Town and has also signed jet-heeled forward Leon Henry, a former Albion player, from Frickley Athletic.
The presence of Eric Gilchrist, the former long-term Albion boss, on Town’s bench will also add some spice to the fixture.
Derby day aside, Sharpe is just eager for his men to return to action and bounce back from their 5-1 loss at Garforth last time out.
“Once you fall off your bike you just want to get back on it again, and it’s the same in football,” he said.
“The team that took to the pitch at Garforth were a shadow of the team that played so well against Solihull in the previous match.
“It was frustrating and words have been said, but at least the postponements have given us time to re-group.”
Town may sit 18th going into the game but Sharpe is still sure his side can make the top-ten this term.
They have up to seven games in hand on some teams due to their extended FA Trophy run and Sharpe is confident his side can put a run of wins together to fire them up the table - starting across Ossett at Dimple Wells on Monday.
“This team is capable of making the top ten,” he said.
“We’re going to hit a good run of form at some point and putting three, four or five wins together can quickly lift you up the table.”
Town will be without the suspended Neil Towler and Luke Richardson for the derby game.
But Danny Clapham is back from injury and Leon Henry is expected to make his debut in the all-red against his former club.
Town and Albion both saw their matches postponed last weekend, with Town scheduled to host Farsley FC and Albion penned in for a trip to Bamber Bridge.
Wakefield FC boss Paul Lines is looking for his first win in charge of the Bears but it won’t come easy against high-flying Farlsey FC on Boxing Day (kick-off 3pm).
The former Ossett Town boss has taken charge of the Bears and been charged with the task of totally rebuilding the squad and keeping them in Division 1 North this season.
Wakefield saw their game at Cammell Laird postponed last Saturday due to a waterlogged pitch but at least it gave Lines some extra preparation time ahead of Farsley’s visit to Stade France on Monday.
The Leeds club are gunning for promotion and sit third in the table. Wakefield will just be looking to improve on their 5-1 defeat against Harrogate Railway last time out.
See this week’s Wakefield Express Sport for all the latest sports news from around the district.