Aylesbury’s two Southern League football clubs, FC and United, both go into tonight’s eagerly-anticipated derby at Haywood Way in desperate need of all three points but for very different reasons.
Having just missed out on promotion last season, the Moles are once again on the play-off trail this time around despite a stop-start campaign, and victory tonight would bring them to within two points of a top five spot.
Aylesbury United, by contrast, have been embroiled in a season-long relegation scrap with just two points and one place separating them from the drop zone.
The Ducks do, however, come into tonight’s game with some confidence following a priceless 1-0 win against Arlesey Town on Saturday when captain Jack Wood netted the winner.
But they’re up against an in-form FC side who’ve won six of their last eight games and have a full squad to pick from following a series of unavailabilities in recent weeks.
“I’ve got the other dilemma deciding who makes the 16 which is the kind of problem I’d rather have,” said Moles manager Steve Bateman ahead of tonight’s clash.
“We’ve got a few back available for us who should be fresh and raring to go and that’s what we need to see.
“Brian Haule had a week’s rest and he’s always a handful, we’ve got his brother Davis who’s an influential figure for us, as well as Aston Goss, and Kyle Anthony has been a key player for us defensively.
“We’ve brought a new striker into the club in Ed Smith and he’s got an excellent record so we’ll be looking at him to continue that.
“He’s come in until the end of the season to see if he can help get us over the line and then we’ll take it from there.
“I’m quite pleased with what we’ve got available at the moment in what is now a busy period with four games in nine days.
“We’ll make one or two changes to keep people fresh but if we don’t perform like we can, it’ll be a far more difficult game.
“People will look and say we should win because we’re at home and the respective league positions but I haven’t met a side that Glyn Creaser has been involved in, whether that’s playing or managing, that rolls over for anybody and I’m not expecting that tonight.
“They’ve got their own reasons for needing the three points just as we’ve got ours.”
Haywood Way is the setting for tonight’s clash after FC emerged victorious in the reverse fixture at United’s current home, the ASM Stadium in Thame, thanks to Brian Haule’s goal.
“I hope the people of the town come out and support both sides because it still bemuses me a bit why there’s a certain degree of animosity between the two sides when there doesn’t need to be,” continued Bateman.
“I’m just hoping for a good game of football and we prevail with the three points for our own ambitions this season, although with that said, I certainly don’t want Aylesbury United to go down because it’s one of those fixtures you look forward to.”
The Moles were held by Leighton Town on Saturday but remain firmly in the promotion picture.
Bateman added: “This is one of those games where we’ve still got in hand on some of the sides around us.
“Our midweek form has not been found wanting and that’s what we need tonight.
“The occasion won’t faze us. I don’t care if we play badly in the remaining nine games but get the points we need because that’s what it’s about at this stage of the season.”