Bedlington Terriers and Ashington are both champing at the bit ahead of their traditional August Bank Holiday Monday match.
The Welfare Park outfit host this season’s first meeting, which has an 11am kick-off.
Last season, Terriers boss Keith Perry saw his side end a three-year dominance of wins by the Colliers as they comfortably wrapped up a 4-0 scoreline.
And Perry – in charge at the club for more than 21 years now – is looking forward to what he anticipates as being another ‘cracking encounter.
He said: “These derby games are different and have a special ring to them with no quarter asked or given – and I know it is an old cliché, but the form book goes out of the window on these occasions.
“There is always great rivalry between the clubs and their respective supporters, and it will be no different on Monday, and as usual we are looking forward to what should be another cracking game.”
And Perry is delighted with the attitude of his new look outfit so far this season.
He added: “We have put together a young side of local lads and I couldn’t have asked for anything more from them in what has been a great start.
“I’ve given them a chance and they have reciprocated by showing passion in their play and are proud to wear the Bedlington shirt, so I’m delighted.”
Perry also praised the impact which coaches Jon Egen and Tony Burgess have made – as well as central lynchpin James Harmison.
“Jon and Tony have come in and are doing a great job on the coaching side of things,” he said.
“It’s also great to have James back because his heart is in the club and he’s totally committed.
“He wanted another chance to compete in the first division of the Ebac Northern League and has taken it with both hands.
“Not only that but his distribution on the park has been fantastic.”
Bedlington will miss the services of striker Phil Bannister who heads to the United States this week, whilst there is also a doubt surrounding Mark Doninger.
The midfielder has missed two games with a thigh injury and will come into contention if he can prove his fitness.
Ashington boss Gary Middleton said: “Bedlington have started the season well – but a derby match is a derby match where both teams will be up for it.
“It’s certainly one to look forward to for players, management and supporters alike.”
Middleton will be keeping a close eye on the progress and fitness of defender Craig Scott during a week where Ashington’s scheduled league clash away to Bishop Auckland has been postponed with the Bishops facing an FA Cup replay against Tadcaster.
“Craig’s injury is frustrating,” he said.
“We had been hoping to get some minutes out of him against Pontefract last weekend but he is getting a reaction from his groin.
“He’s not quite there fitness wise at the minute but we’ve got a free week, which should be beneficial to him and we’ll monitor the situation on a daily basis.”