Festive football feast of derby doubles

Horsham FC have been groundsharing at Gorings Mead, Horsham. Pic Steve Robards SUS-150429-150954001

Horsham FC have been groundsharing at Gorings Mead, Horsham. Pic Steve Robards SUS-150429-150954001

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The Christmas fixtures will be serving up a festive feast of two derby doubles in the Southern Combination League Premier Division next week.

Horsham will be hosting their landlords on Bank Holiday Monday at Gorings Mead with a bumper crowd expected in the later 2pm kick-off.

Both teams have applied for promotion to the Ryman League next season and go into the eagerly-anticipated clash with YM hot on their tenant’s tails in the top five.

It will be the first-ever league meeting between the two sides - they last met in a competitive fixture in October 2011 when the Hornets won a tight Sussex Senior Cup tie 3-2.

Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola said: “The supporters will obviously want us to do well and we went to watch them on Saturday.

“YM are one of those teams that are normally on it in the big games. They have always given us a hard game and it’s going to be a tough one and there should be a few coming to watch.

“The pitch should be good so we cannot make excuses to not play if we are short of numbers. We’ll have to put up with our squad of 21 players.

“They will be up for it, teams always are, but if our lads have anything about them, they will be as well. It’ll be a good game and hopefully we will do ourselves justice.”

YMCA assistant boss Dean Potter added: “It will be a big game. For me, it’s about confidence and it’s about getting in form. We were glad that we played last week and we got a bit of confidence back and I thought that we had a bit of a swagger.

“It’s going to be a good game. Whoever wins the game is not going to win the league based on that game. There’s still a long way to go.

“This next six weeks we’ll get to see where we are and if we can keep our form, we can be up there. By the end of January, we want to be in the top four, with not many points between us and the top.”

Before that, in more of a now mid-table clash, out-of-sorts Loxwood, who have also applied for promotion, host Broadbridge Heath at Plaistow Road at 11am.

The Magpies have slipped up after a fine start while Heath have found their feet and are starting to climb the table.

Bears boss Steve Painter said: “They are still a good side, do not worry about that. We are under no misapprehension, that they are going to be a strong side.

“I know most of their players and we cannot go into the game taking it easy, we have to face it on top of our game.

“We have four or five fixtures now that are really tough - with four of the top six in the next few games. Between that we have Burgess Hill in the Sussex Senior Cup and a semi-final at Lancing at the end of January.”

The two sides are yet to meet this season after both had impressive debut years in the top flight last season.

Magpies boss Mark Beard added: “They came to watch us on Saturday so will know all about us and the squad won’t be much different, maybe one or two of the younger ones will come back in.

“Christmas is a funny period, I am trusting the players to keep ticking over fitness wise. It will be whoever looks after themselves over the period will win the game.”

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