Stage set for festive derby

Bexhill’s two senior football clubs will go head-to-head at The Polegrove this morning (Monday).

Monday, 28th December 2015, 1:00 am
Action from the Peter Bentley Challenge Cup tie between Little Common and Bexhill United during September (SUS-151109-194607002)

Local pride and three Macron Store Southern Combination Football League Division One points will be at stake as Bexhill United entertain Little Common. Kick-off is 11am.

Bexhill manager Marc Munday said: “It’s a local derby and it’s what I’m in football for. I’m looking forward to it and all the boys are looking forward to it as well.”

Both teams have been a bit up and down in the league so far this term, although sixth-placed Common are five points and five positions above Bexhill having played a game more.

Bexhill will go into the derby without having played a competitive fixture for 23 days, whereas Common have played twice - and won twice - over the past two weekends.

Asked if that gives his team an advantage, Common player-manager Russell Eldridge said: “I think you would probably have to say so in terms of that fitness and sharpness.

“We know you can train as much as you want, but it’s not the same as playing in a game. But it’s a local derby, and I know that Marc will have them up for the game and I know the boys that play for them will be up for the game.”

Bexhill addressed their lack of recent activity by contesting a friendly against Premier Division leaders Eastbourne Town on Tuesday night which ended in a 6-0 loss.

“They wanted another game and we’ve bitten their hands off really,” said Munday, who was frustrated that last weekend’s postponed game away to Langney Wanderers wasn’t switched to The Polegrove. “It might be the little bit we need just to get our fitness up.

“Ourselves and Little Common have shown that we can beat anyone in this league; it’s just maybe that consistency (which is lacking). They will be gunning to beat us on the back of some good results and we will be gunning to beat them.”

Games between the two clubs in recent seasons have been dominated by whoever is at home and while Bexhill will be hoping the trend continues, Common will feel it’s about time they picked up a victory away to their crosstown rivals.

“Sooner or later it’s got to turn, whether it’s here (at Common) or down there,” Eldridge added. “We’re in good shape at the moment. When everyone’s available I’ve got 22 players to pick from and I’ve never had that luxury so far this season.

“We treat these games as any other game and prepare for them in the same way, but obviously there’s that little bit of edge and bragging rights as such. We’ll be looking to overturn the away jinx and come away with a result.”

Both teams expect to be just about at full strength.

Elsewhere today, Westfield will travel to Rottingdean Village in a Southern Combination League Division Two match kicking-off at 11am. Westfield will be aiming to make it third time lucky having already lost to Rottingdean twice this season.

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