In-form Horsham and Loxwood all set for first-ever derby clash

Loxwood manager Mark Beard  (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150510-170032008
Loxwood manager Mark Beard (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150510-170032008

In-form Horsham and Loxwood meet at Gorings Mead tonight in an eagerly-anticipated derby clash in the Premier Division.

It is the first-ever competitive meeting between the two sides and sees legendary former Hornets captain Eddie French make his return to face his old club for the first time.

If that wasn’t appetising enough, it’s a clash of the titans in terms of recent form. The fourth-placed Magpies made it a perfect ten on Saturday as they clinched their tenth straight win in all competitions with a 6-0 hammering of Shorheham.

The second-placed hosts meanwhile have eight straight wins and are yet to lose in the league.

A bumper crowd is expected for the 7.30pm kick-off tonight and although Loxwood manager Mark Beard believes his side are the underdogs, he says they have no-one to fear at the moment,

“We are probably the best two footballing sides in the division and we like to play the right way,” he said.

“They are a lot more experienced than us with a high wage bill that everyone is talking about, we do not pay wages and the squad we have is very young.

“We are the underdogs, but I will just tell them (the players) to carry on with what they are doing and they should be going out there feeling ten-feet tall.

“We will need to get amongst them, but we often kill teams off later on with the fitness we have.”

Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola is expecting another tough challenge after they were pushed hard by Chichester City before running out 4-1 winners on Saturday.

He said: “We have a run of tough games coming up and they are all big games, but really only another three points as well. Whenever anyone asked me who I tipped at the start of the season I said Loxwood, so I am pleased with my prediction.

“They are a decent young side and play good football with some talented players. It will be a really tough game.

“We are missing two or three with injuries and holidays over the next few weeks, but it’s the nature of this level so I am going to have to see who I have got and when.”

Read Loxwood skipper French’s thoughts ahead of facing his former side here.

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