Derby day returns for old rivals Hucknall Town and Eastwood CFC
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Hucknall's promotion has restored the derby this season with the Red Badgers currently in fine form under new bosses Daryll Thomas and Martin Ball and up to fourth in the UCL Premier North table after four games unbeaten.
For Hucknall, it's been a tough return to the level with only one win from the first 12 games, but optimism has risen with the arrival of new joint bosses Reece Limbert and Louis Bland.
Joint boss Limbert said: “On Saturday, we’re hoping for a much dryer game than previously against Radford.
“We’re also hoping for a positive response from the players after two weeks without a fixture, even more so knowing it’s against a local rival.
“But the break has provided a great opportunity for us to embed new signing Harry Johnson into the squad, while also working on how we want to play.”
Joint Eastwood boss Thomas said: “We can’t wait for this weekend's huge local derby away at Hucknall Town after a two week break.
“We’re all chomping at the bit to get back out there having had a much needed break last weekend.
“In truth the break has helped us no end with half a dozen players now returning from injury.
“And with the addition of Kam Campbell coming in from Long Eaton I'd say this is the strongest squad we have had thus far since me and Bally took over.
“Saturday's game is a fixture we looked for as soon as the fixtures were released.
“Form and league positions go out the window. We expect a massive crowd from all the locals, so it’s down to us to prepare the boys as best as we can then the lads to do what they have done for 85 per cent of this season.
“I’m hoping the Red Badgers come out in force Saturday and get behind the lads - your support makes a massive difference to us! ”
Hucknall will certainly be no strangers to the visitors. Former Red Badger Louis Czerwak leads the way for goals netting five times in 18 appearances this term.
Other ex-Eastwood players include, Nathan Kelly, Ayleal Dill, Raife Poplar, Alfie Smith-Eccles and Town captain Aaron Short.
Meetings between Eastwood and Hucknall Town go all the way back to 2014 in the CMFL days. The first clash ended all square in a six goal thriller at Coronation Park, Jake Danby, Nick Hewer and Frazer Dulson all getting on the scoresheet.
There have been 14 encounters with Hucknall Town since then, with Eastwood marginally edging the head to head record winning six, losing five.
The most recent fixture was last September where Town progressed in the Notts Senior Cup on penalties.
Despite a Jack Thatcher hat-trick giving the Red Badgers a 3-0 lead, a capitulation from the new-look Eastwood side in the final 20 minutes of the match allowed Hucknall to even up the score.
The last time Eastwood tasted defeat in the league away at Hucknall Town was December 2017.
For the visitors, Ryan Tait, Ben Gowing and Lavell White remain sidelined.
But Oliver Robinson, Tyreece Robinson, Jermain Hollis, Daniel Elliott, Isaac Warner and Lynden Joyce are all in contention to play after a welcome break to help recover from injury.
New signing Kameron Campbell will also be available having recently joined from step three Long Eaton United.
Aaron O’Connor has scored in each of his last three matches and has scored or assisted in his last three starts away from home.