Ashington boss Harmison relishing his first Bedlington derby

Andrew Johnson scored his second goal with a powerfully placed shot from outside the area
Andrew Johnson scored his second goal with a powerfully placed shot from outside the area

Ashington FC manager Steve Harmison reckons there is extra spice to a derby clash – as he prepares to roll out the red carpet for the visit of local rivals Bedlington to Woodhorn Lane on Bank Holiday Monday (1pm kick-off).

“It’s easy to say that we will treat it like any other game but we won’t because it’s a derby,” said the boss,

“It will be played a little bit faster – and there is extra spice to the contest which is good for Ashington and Bedlington.

“In the final analysis, I think you have got to be in control of your emotions - and that will probably be the difference between who wins the game and who loses it.

“I always look forward to a derby meeting. They are always good games which are well supported and I think it helps by the staging of the Les Alderson Memorial

clash the day beforehand.”

Three ex-players who are now in the Terriers ranks – player manager Andy Ferrell, striker Marc Walton and defender Lance McGlen - will make their first return to Ashington since leaving for pastures new.

“Andy and Marc did good things for the club,” added Harmison, “And if I’m brutally honest, we weren’t that keen on losing Lance but he wanted to go and play regular football along with his mates - and I can

understand that.

“Lance is a good kid – and hopefully all three will receive a warm reception.

“At the end of the day, when people do good for you they should be welcomed back even though it is a derby and a big game.”

Harmison, who as manager of the Colliers will sample the atmosphere of the Wansbeck derby for the first time from the dugout, – added: “Lads will be coming face to face with players they already know whilst there will be more spectators coming through the turnstiles than normal to see two teams going hard at each other but on the day, I’m hoping we can get the right result.”

Meanwhile the derby will go on ice if Ashington’s FA Cup tie with Thackley on Saturday ends in a draw as the replay – which would take precedence – is pencilled

in for Tuesday (September 1) with an 8pm kick-off.