Ossett Town manager Craig Elliott is expecting nothing other than a “fierce derby battle” when his men face Ossett Albion on Easter Monday.
Town are targeting a top-half finish in Evo-Stik Division 1 North while Albion are without a win in 2013 and battling against relegation.
But Elliott will ensure his side do not take the Dimple Wells club, who are without a permanent manager, lightly going into Monday’s clash at Ingfield (kick-off 3pm).
“I have no doubt this will be a fierce derby battle between two sides desperate for the three points,” he said.
“Albion need the points to avoid relegation - and from a personal point of view I hope they stay up. The extra revenue and publicity the fixtures produce is great for both clubs. There is a huge rivalry between the two sides, but I like to think it is a friendly rivalry.
“It is a derby game and I don’t want to lose, but in reality it is another game against a team in this league. We have to beat Albion to keep on track with our target of finishing in the top half of this competitive league.”
Town will be favourites for the three points and go into the game on the back of an impressive victory at high-flying Curzon Ashton on Monday night.
Elliott and his men also have a good record in derby matches this season, winning all four of their games against Albion and Wakefield FC, while Albion have lost two and drawn one of their derby tussles.
Town produced a disciplined performance throughout their clash at Curzon and their reward was an 83rd-minute winner from former Nostell MW man Jimmy Eyles to secure a seventh point from Town’s last three away games.
“We have been a lot more consistent of late and we have had some good results against the better teams in the league, as seven points from away games at Lancaster City, Ramsbottom United and Curzon Ashton prove,” Elliott commented.
“That said, we have to remain focused and keep our high standards. It’s helped that key players have found form and we’re getting injured players back so I have a stronger squad to choose from.”
Monday’s match at Curzon was a rare instance of an Evo-Stik Premier League match getting the green light this week.
Only one match beat the heavy snowfall last weekend and Town’s scheduled home game against New Mills on Tuesday night was postponed due to a frozen pitch.
The postponements forced the Evo-Stik Premier League to extend the season by a week to Saturday, May 4 to allow teams extra time to fulfil their fixture schedule.
Albion and Town still have 12 matches to play this season, with Wakefield FC having eight matches left.
All teams will hope the weather improves to allow them to complete their Easter weekend double-header.
Before Monday’s Ossett derby, Albion will host Curzon Ashton at Dimple Wells on Saturday while Town travel to Burscough. Wakefield FC are at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium against Bamber Bridge. All matches kick-off at 3pm.
Wakefield’s Easter Monday match is at Curzon Ashton (kick-off 3pm).