NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: It’s derby night as St Ives Town host St Neots Town in Southern League showdown
- Credit: Archant
St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke hoppes his team can continue their upturn in form in the heat of a Huntingdonshire derby clash.
Marheineke’s men entertain local rivals St Neots Town in a re-arranged Southern League Premier Division showdown at ProEdge Westwood Road tonight, 7.45pm. The fixture was quickly re-arranged after being postponed on New Year’s Day due to an unplayable pitch.
Fourth-bottom St Ives are unbeaten in their last three games, but go into the all-local clash having amassed only half the amount of points their 10th-placed visitors have managed this term,
Marheineke, who has extended the loan deal of Kettering wideman Ben Baker until the end of the season, said: “Seven points from a possible nine in the last three games is a really pleasing return.
“We’ve picked up a couple of valuable wins against teams around us in the table during that time and the improved run has set the game against St Neots up nicely.
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“As long as we work as hard as we have done in recent games, we’ll continue to give ourselves a chance of picking up more results, but we know we’re facing a good side.”
The arrival of loan signing Tom Knowles late last week took the number of former St Neots players in the St Ives squad up to seven. Goalkeeper Tim Trebes, defender Miles Smith, midfielders Rogan McGeorge and Peter Clark, wideman Declan Rogers and striker Danny Watson have also played for the other set of Saints.
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There are five ex-St Ives men in the St Neots squad tonight - Jack Bradshaw, Liam McDevitt, Luke Knight, Scott Sinclair and Harry O’Malley. The latter three were all part of St Ives’ promotion-winning squad in 2015/16.
Despite so many links and the short distance between the clubs - their two grounds are only a shade over 14 miles apart - St Neots boss Matt Clements is keen for tonight’s clash to be treated no differently to any other game.
He said: “Local derbies often tend to be more like cup clashes than league games, but we just need to treat it like any other match. We want to beat every team we play irrespective of the opposition.
“To be honest we could do with a victory after a couple of draws and a defeat recently, but we know we need to perform to stand a chance of getting the three points.
“St Ives have picked up a couple of important wins and a very good draw away at King’s Lynn, who are one of the best teams in the league, just lately. They are in decent form now.”
The two teams meet again on February 6 - also at St Ives - in a Hunts Senior Cup semi-final. The return Southern League Premier Division clash is on Easter Monday.