The off field disputes between Clipstone and Staveley Miners Welfare should not impact tonight’s game – according to both managers.
There might be little love lost between the two NCEL Premier outfits, but both James Colliver and Brett Marshall agree on at least one thing – tonight will be all about the football.
Earlier in the season Staveley complained to the league and the FA, after Marshall claimed he was ejected from the ground of his former club Clipstone.
The league initially ruled that the Cobras could let whoever they wish enter the ground, but the FA contradicted them, deciding Marshall should be granted access whenever he wanted.
Colliver, who managed Staveley last season before being replaced by Marshall, expects a tough test tonight and will be fully concentrating on the game, not the off field discord.
“My focus as ever will be on trying to gain points on the field,” he said.
“Tonight’s games will be a tough test after a difficult January and then another late goal conceded on Saturday.
“Staveley have been in good form of late however they will be looking to bounce back after their defeat at Bridlington.
“They are a good team, they have lots of experience in their starting 11 who will no doubt be looking to also focus on the game instead of the politics.
“Tonight’s game should all be about the players and not what has gone off behind the scenes and the FA’s involvement.”
Ex Worksop and Belper defender Colliver says he still has some friends at Inkersall Road, even if he isn’t on good terms with everyone at Staveley.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the upporters who wished me well and still remain in contact, and regardless of the result I’ll have a beer in their clubhouse after the game,” he said.
Marshall agrees that the off field disagreements should be put to one side, and he doesn’t want to see the game ruined by any tension between the clubs.
“It will be a good game, they’re a decent side, they have some decent players and they’re well organised,” he said.
“Obviously with the histories between the two clubs it could be quite frantic, at least at the start.
“But whatever has happened off the field stays off the field – too often you end up with fewer than 22 players finishing the game through ill discipline or too much hype, and that ruins the game.
“We’re two teams known for playing football, and that’s what we want to see.
“If we play the way we can then the result will take care of itself.”
The clubs have both amassed 44 points this season, with Clipstone ahead on goal difference in eighth position, having played three more games than Staveley.
Both managers might only admit privately that they’d love to finish the season ahead of their respective former employers, but the pair are both happy to put on record their belief that tonight won’t decide the success or failure of their seasons.
Colliver said: “It’s about the remainder of the season that counts, not tonight’s result.”
Marshall added: “League positions won’t be decided after tonight, it’s just another game.”