Fierce local rivals Boroughbridge and Ripon City will lock horns in the West Riding County Cup this weekend, with both managers expecting some fireworks.
Both sides come into the second round tie struggling for form after below-par starts to their domestic season has left them occupying two of the three relegation places.
Ripon conceded two goals in the last five minutes to lose 2-1 away at Otley Town on Saturday while Boroughbridge were beaten 4-2 at home to fellow strugglers Shelley.
The cup tie will also pit Alistair Hogg, Ripon City manager, against his former club and manager, Daz Ekin for the first time since taking charge at the club.
Hogg spent one season playing for Ripon before taking on the club’s managerial role, despite making his name playing in goal for Ekin’s Boroughbridge.
The Ripon manager said, speaking from experience, there was ‘nothing better’ than this North Yorkshire derby and is hoping a cup run can ignite his side’s confidence.
He said: “With Boroughbridge and Ripon it’s a point of local pride and it’s not just a massive game for us but for Boroughbridge as well.
“I won’t have to say too much to the players on Saturday because I don’t think the sense of occasion will be lost on them.
“I would prefer to be playing Boroughbridge in the league and get the three points but a cup run would be nice.
“We both desperately need the points but I will have a drink with Daz after the game. We still keep in contact but I haven’t faced him yet this season.”
Boroughbridge have only fared slightly better than their local rivals so far this season but Ekin said he was looking forward to a reunion with the Ripon manager.
He said: “Well there will be some fireworks for sure. It’s all down to bragging rights and we’ll be at full strength for the first time this season.
“We can’t wait to go head-to-head with ‘Bridge legend Alistair Hogg.”
Hogg admitted his players were ‘deflated’ after two late goals against Otley condemned his team to their tenth defeat of the season, but the Ripon manager said he was ‘not concerned’ about the prospect of relegation.
He said: “I’m not concerned about us going down, not if we play like we did on Saturday it won’t be a problem it’s just about belief now. They need to believe in themselves and on Saturday you could see it was coming together.
“I’ve got my squad back now and that’s all I can put the better performance down to. I can’t say too much about Boroughbridge but I can’t see either club going down. They’re struggling for players like us and you can only play with what you’ve got. It’s just about getting that first win.”