ALBION Sports’ boss Rizwan Mohammed has heaped praise on to this weekend’s opponents, Silsden and believes their recent run has no bearing on the outcome of the highly anticipated contest.

The Reds travel to Bradford having lost their previous four NCEL Premier Division fixtures, whilst they’ll also be seeking revenge on Albion after The Lions ran out 2-1 winners on the opening day of the season.

Albion, who claimed a dramatic and late victory over Pickering Town last weekend, will be hoping to inflict more NCEL pain on Silsden, but their boss is adamant that Matt Cavanagh’s side will be out to turn their fortunes round on derby day.

Mohammed said: “I don’t feel like we can read too much into Silsden’s recent form in the league. I think it’s just a case of them not playing to their usual standards recently. A lot of people know it, but what they’re doing at Silsden is great and many of their players should be playing in higher leagues. They’ve got quality all over the pitch and they’re a very good footballing side.

“Like this season, we played Silsden last season just after they’d been on a small losing run, and they went and beat us. This time around, they’ve had a couple of postponements coming into this fixture, so I think they’ll be rested, they’ll have fire in their bellies and I think that they’ll want to get one over on us after we beat them in the first game of the season.”

He added: “Silsden have threats all over the pitch and they’ve assembled an amazing squad for this level of football. I know it’s hard to compare, but I watched the David Beckham documentary recently and, although they had great players everywhere, a team full of Galactico’s, it took a little longer for the team to gel.

“I feel like this could be a similar scenario with Silsden given the quality of team and squad they’re continuing to build. Once they click properly, they’ll be hard to beat. That’s my theory.”

Albion come into this weekend’s fixture on the back of a dramatic 2-1 victory over Pickering, where they scored two 90th minute goals to turn the game on its head.

Reflecting on the game, Mohammed said: “Pickering only had one shot on target in the first half and they scored, so I think they were comfortable to just sit and defend from there.

“I think we were tired, but we have played more games than most teams in the division because of our cup runs. So, it was important that we changed things up, which we did at half-time and brought three players on. From there it was total domination on our side.

“I’ve got to say, I’m slightly disappointed in Pickering because some of the challenges they were putting in on our players were disgraceful. I respect a strong tackle – a tackle that has heart and a clear intent to win the ball – but that wasn’t the case with their players on Saturday.”

Albion were on the wrong end of 90th minute strikes in their previous two fixtures - first at home to Hallam in the league - and most recently against West Didsbury & Chorlton in the FA Vase, so it was a relief for Mohammed and his side to be in the positive end of a late goal this time around.

He said: “We know the feeling of conceding late on far too well, particularly in recent weeks so it was great to not be on the receiving end of it against Pickering.

The Albion boss added: “On a personal note, I usually don’t get too excited when we score because you can never predict what’s going to happen after a goal and most of the team it’s edge of your seat stuff.

“This time, however, I absolutely loved the feeling of us scoring two late goals to win the game, simply because I saw that they were trying to hurt my players. It almost felt like payback in a sense. I enjoyed it.”

Discussing whether a late and dramatic victory like Saturday’s could help bring the group closer ahead of a promotion push, Mohammed said: “We are a very close-knit group anyway, but we’ve had games where we’ve won by two or three goals, and I’ve not been happy with the level of performance.

“There’s been games where we’ve lost and I’ve been pleased with the level of application the boys have shown, and yes, we won on Saturday, but the level of fight and desire shown by my players to make sure we got the right result was brilliant. When the group sticks together like we did on Saturday, then it naturally makes the bond stronger between the players and us as coaching staff.”