Bradford Park Avenue boss John Deacey is looking forward to Saturday’s Skrill North clash with Lee Sinnott’s Altrincham - perhaps more than most matches.
The managers are great friends and have worked together in the past.
Deacey learned his management skills alongside former Bantams defender ‘Sinbad’, and is always keen to test himself against the master.
Deacey said: “I had a talk to Lee on Tuesday and we had a smile and a few words about the game. I think he’s looking forward to it as much as I am.
“It will be a tough game, no doubt about it, but we need to play as we have done because we’ve been playing well.
“It will be a difficult weekend because we’ve got the trip to Altrincham and then Stockport County at home on Monday.
“It’s difficult because we have such a small squad. We have two men out as well, so we haven’t got enough players. It’s a case of if you’re fit, you’re in the squad.”
Avenue will be without injured skipper Nathan Hotte and centre back James Knowles, who is serving a four-game suspension, and Deacey is hoping to get a player in on loan in time for Saturday’s game.
“Knowlesy got a four-game ban because it was his second red card of the season,” he said.
“We will miss Nathan because he is a massive influence. We’ll miss Knowlesy at the back but Ryan Qualter has done really well.
“This will be his biggest test though, up against (James) Walshaw and (Damian) Reeves. I think they got 40-odd goals between them last season. They are quality strikers and it will be good for Ryan to see how he’s stepped up since signing for us.
“I’m sure Ryan will come through the test because he has got the right attitude. Grant Black has also settled in quickly, and these players are the right age for us because we are building for the future.”
Sinnott’s side need the points to keep up with their play-off rivals. They are just outside the play-off zone, three points behind fifth-placed Brackley Town, although with a game in hand.
Avenue are 11th and looking for their tenth league victory of the season. They have not given up hope of making a late run for the play-offs but have not been able to build on their last result.
After earning a point from a tough derby at Harrogate Town a fortnight ago, they missed out last Saturday because of the weather.