THACKLEY manager Pat McGuire makes no secret of the fact that he was unimpressed with his players after their two defeats to Eccleshill United earlier in the season, and he is determined to make sure there is no repeat this weekend

The Eagles travel to Dennyfield today, knowing that an away win will put them above Thackley in the Toolstation Northern Counties East League Premier Division table, something McGuire is sure will be on his players’ minds.

He admitted that he is facing a selection headache for the big derby, but it is a positive one, with up to 24 players pushing to make the final 11.

Discussing the game, McGuire said: “It’s massive. If they beat us they’ll go above us and if we win there’ll be some daylight. We were in the same situation in our derby with Albion Sports two weeks ago and we won (4-0).

“There’s history between Thackley and Eccleshill, with the two of us being so close geographically. But there’s also competition for players, who’s higher up the league, who’s getting it right on and off the field and more.

“They’ve had the bragging rights this year, after we took four points off them last season. They beat us in the league and the League Cup and they were two of our worst performances of the season, which is a real sickener against your biggest rivals.

“We’re training hard and we’ve got to be prepared for Saturday (today) now. The biggest problem is probably going to be selection.

“We’ve kept everyone fit this season and you’re almost hoping someone becomes unavailable (to make things easier). We’ve got 23 or 24 players that have all started at some point this season and that are capable of starting.

“It’s down to us now to get it right and work out who will give Eccleshill the most problems on the day.”

Thackley did not get it right with their performance last Saturday at Grimsby Borough, losing 4-2.

Put to him that that might not have been such a bad result given that Borough are right in the title hunt, McGuire disagreed.

He said: “Grimsby had been on a poor run so they were a wounded animal.

“We were very wary of a big reaction from them but we were full of confidence, having been lively in our previous two games (wins over Albion and Goole) and not conceding in either.

“It meant we had a chance to get hot on their heels with a win, but that’s football. Things don’t always go the way you plan.

“From one to 11 we were poor but hopefully it was just one of those days. There’s no excuses though, and it should give us a kick up the backside for Eccleshill.”

It has been a good season for Thackley, but beating their biggest rivals is an itch they’re desperate to scratch.