Ashington and Bedlington Terriers mangers expect tough derby game

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Ashington’s Gary Middleton and his opposite number at Bedlington Keith Perry are united in their thoughts on a couple of fronts ahead of Saturday’s derby match at Woodhorn Lane.

Both are adamant that despite the huge points differential and gap in their respective league placings, the contest will be massively tough.

The high flying Colliers currently occupy fifth whilst their opponents sit fifth from the bottom in 19th position.

But Middleton and Perry reckon that counts for nothing come 3pm on Saturday.

“All games in the league are hard and this one will be no different,” said Colliers boss Middleton.

“Obviously we are fighting for a top five finish whilst Bedlington face a permutation of another sort as they are trying to secure first division status, so there are two separate visions.

“They are a young side in transition but we will need to be at our best and I am not naive enough to think that because of the respective positions of the clubs in the table that it will be anything other than a tough contest.”

Middleton, a former servant with the Terriers whose only doubt surrounds midfielder Martin Brittain, added: “It’s always nice to come up against your former club – but there will be no sentiment.

“We will be going all out to get a victory to try and maintain our league placing.”

Perry meanwhile, agreed it will be a tough duel and believes it will be a competitive clash.

He said: “The game will be contested between two teams who are experiencing contrasting fortunes.

“Ashington have gone from strength to strength and although they had an upset when they went out of the FA Vase recently, they have bounced back.

“They have surprised a lot of people and I was impressed by their performance against us earlier in the season.”

Perry is convinced one of the differences between the two outfits is consistency.

He added: “We knew things would be tough when we decided to put a young team together.

“The lads have done really well and have given there all – but whilst Ashington have been consistent, the story of our season has been our inconsistency.

“They are at the top end of the table and are wanting to finish as high as possible whilst we are at the other end and are determined to get out of a relegation battle.

“It will be an experience for the young lads and it will be a chance to see how far they have progressed since the 3-0 defeat in August.

“I think it will be a really competitive game on Saturday, but football is all about what happens on the day.”

Apart from long term injury victim Glenn Bolton, Perry is hoping to be able to finalise his line-up from an otherwise full squad.

On Tuesday, February 11, Ashington are at home to Consett.