ASHINGTON CFC and Bedlington Terriers FC will go into Tuesday’s derby at Woodhorn Lane with the same formula.
Colliers boss Gary Middleton and his opposite numbers at Welfare Park, Tony Lowery and Keith Perry, will be hoping their side takes all three points on the night, but the respective management teams are looking beyond that as they want their outfits to attain as high a finish in the STL Northern League first division as possible.
To date, the Colliers are on par with Dunston UTS in having played fewer games than anyone else in the league.
They are in mid-table but could overhaul the seventh place Terriers if they win their games in hand.
Woodhorn Lane boss Middleton had not given any thought to the forthcoming clash.
“To be honest, I’ll start and think about Bedlington after our away clash with Spennymoor on Saturday,” he said.
“But we’ll approach the derby in no different a manner to any other match.
“Our objective is to try to win every game and finish as high as we can over until the curtain comes down on the season.”
“Last Saturday’s clash against West Auckland was as tough a game as we’ve played.
“We know that every encounter is going to be tough but we also know that we have got to be up for the derby and be at the top of our game.”
Lowery, speaking on behalf of Perry and himself, said: “You can never say never but we are not challenging for the league because we are out of contention. However we want to finish as high as we can.
“Playing Ashington is always a hard fixture – they are a strong team and it’s a shame about their Vase exit.
“The fact that it’s a derby always adds a bit of spice and makes things more interesting, and they always tend to be close fought games.”
Ashington edged a 2-1 win at Bedlington on August Bank Holiday Monday.
Whilst Middleton reports that long term injury victim Paul Dunn is ruled out of contention, Lowery and Perry have recently added to their squad with the signing of winger Steven Baptist – on loan from Gateshead – and midfielder Andy Dugdale from West Allotment Celtic.
“Our squad was wafer thin,” said Lowery.
“Steven (Baptist) needs no introduction because he played for Ashington last season.
“He is very comfortable on the ball whilst Andy has been on the Northern League scene for a while serving clubs such as Whitley Bay and Newcastle Benfield.”
Mark O’Dea’s low strike clinched Ashington a 1-0 win over the Terriers in the final game of last season.
Another close encounter is anticipated when the teams come face to face on Tuesday, February 8. Kick-off is 7.30pm.