Stocksbridge Park Steels and Sheffield FC lock horns at Bracken Moor this weekend in the FA Trophy Preliminary Round in a clash that both sets of supporters have been looking forward since the draw in July.
Steels’ Chris Hilton knows the importance of the game having played for both sides during his playing days.
“It’s a big game and one that neither wants to lose, said Hilton. “I played at Stocksbridge before moving to Belper then joining Sheffield in 2004; there has always been a rivalry between the clubs. We got knocked out of the FA Cup early so it would be nice to progress in the Trophy at the expense of our neighbours.
“Ideally we want to put on a good performance but if we get through 1-0 with a scrappy goal I’ll take that, the important thing is that we progress to the next round. It will be tough, Sheffield will be up for it. We’ll need to give 100% for 90 minutes. We’re at home so we’ve got to go for it and hopefully we’ll come out on top.”
Steels warmed up for the tie with a 2-1 win at Kidsgrove Athletic on Tuesday thanks to Lee Thompson’s last minute winner. “I was happy with the three points but we didn’t play particularly well,” admitted Hilton.
For Sheffield FC’s assistant boss Jordan Broadbent it will be a first taste of a Club v Steels derby encounter. “I’ve not been involved in one of these derbies before but it’s something I’m really looking forward to,” said Broadbent.
“We’re keeping it low key at the moment. Our preparations will be the same as if it were another league game. We’ve no injuries to concern ourselves with so come Saturday we’ll be firing on all cylinders.”
Broadbent praised Clubs strikers Ashley Longstaff and Joel Purkiss and feels they could be key to a Sheffield win at Bracken Moor, said. “Ashley is very difficult to play against. He’s a big lad to get around and holds the ball up well.
“He’s brought the best out of Joel; they compliment each other well and are what I call an old fashioned 9 and 10.”
The last time the two teams met was in the Sheffield Senior Cup quarter final in 2009 when they served up a nine-goal thriller at Bracken Moors. On that occasion Club came out on top after coming from 3-0 then 4-1 down to win 5-4 with Ashley Longstaff volleying in the last minute winner. Sheffield went on to lift the trophy later that season beating Hallam 4-2 at Hillsborough.
The game will be a bit of an old pal’s reunion with Stocksbridge goalkeeper Liam Flynn having played for both teams. Sheffield’s Richard Stirrup and James Knowles are both former Stocksbridge players, while Longstaff had a brief stay at Bracken Moor two seasons ago.