Loxwood vow they are 'not going to sit back' while Horsham YMCA must 'go and get three points' in pivotal derby game

Action from August's encounter between Horsham YMCA and Loxwood. All pictures by Steve Robards.
Action from August's encounter between Horsham YMCA and Loxwood. All pictures by Steve Robards.

Local rivals Loxwood and Horsham YMCA will meet at Plaistow Road in the Premier Division on Saturday with both hoping a victory will move them closer to realising their season's aspiration.

YM sit third in the division with 50 points from 25 games but have had a miserable run of results.

Loxwood boss Alex Walsh.

Loxwood boss Alex Walsh.

The Gorings Mead-outfit's title charge has stuttered in the last month, recording just two wins in their last eight league games, and they now sit ten points off top-of-the-table Chichester City.

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The Magpies lie second-from-bottom with 17 points from 25 games as a poor run of form has curtailed their bid for survival.

Like YM, Loxwood have two wins in eight and the Magpies sit one point away from safety.

The two teams met in August this season, with Horsham YMCA picking up a 3-0 home victory thanks to a goal from Mark Cave and an Alex Barbary double.

Horsham YMCA boss Peter Buckland.

Horsham YMCA boss Peter Buckland.

The respective managers, Loxwood's Alex Walsh and YM's Peter Buckland, are expecting a tough derby game but have backed their sides to pick up a win to put them back on track.

The Magpies boss said: "Every game is going to be difficult. I don't want it to sound cliche, but every game is going to be hard now. There aren't many easy games in this league.

"Horsham YMCA are up there. They're third and that shows the quality that they've got.

"I know they've dropped a little bit in form but, let's be honest, they're third for a reason. They've got good players.

"We are going to have to be much, much better because we're not going to sit back. We're at home and we're going to go for it.

"I believe that if we turn up and everyone sings off the same hymn sheet we're capable of getting three points."

Buckland added: "Loxwood have turned a bit of a corner and it's a local derby so it's going to be a tough game.

"There's always an added dimension because it's a local derby and they'd like to turn us over as we'd like to turn them over.

"I don't see it as anything other than another challenge. Any team on their day can give you a game.

"To me and the lads it's just another game where we've got to go and get three points.

"We've got 13 games to go and there is still a lot of points up for grabs. We are very much in the frame of mind that we won't chuck the towel in and it's not over until it is mathematically impossible."

Ahead of Saturday's derby, Walsh revealed that the Magpies will be at full-strength while Buckland rued a lengthy injury list.

Walsh added: "Hugo (Cowan) was out, which was a shame, but he's relishing the chance to go play against his former club YM.

"He'll be back and we've got a couple of others coming back through. We're very much at full-strength for Saturday."

The YM manager said: "We've just got Ash Dugdale back and his first full game back was against Peacehaven and he made the difference.

"I've now lost him for two or three weeks with appendicitis. It just seems to carry on like that.

"On Saturday we were without Luke Donaldson, Dan Mobsby, Tom Gilbert, Dean Carden, Dean Bown, and Callum Donaghey. That's six that would start.

"The only one that will be back will be Dan. He wasn't injured but away on business. It's pretty much as was on Saturday."

Buckland may have to serve a touchline ban on Saturday. The YMCA boss was sent to the stands after confronting the referee following a controversial goal in their 3-3 home draw with Saltdean United last weekend.

Buckland said: “Football can be a character changing game. I normally make officials feel very welcome at our place, and the poor young ref must have only been about 20, but I went in at the end and said I’m not apologising for your decisions, you got two catastrophic decisions wrong which have cost us the game.

“However, you don’t deserve to be told whatever I said so I apologise for that, and I should know better. He was very grateful that I went in and said that.

"I won't appeal it because there's nothing to appeal. I swore at the referee face-to-face.

"That's wrong and I've just got to take what comes my way."