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Tuesday 23rd March 2010


Old rivalries will be rekindled on Wednesday evening as United welcome Bradford Park Avenue to Gigg Lane for what always seems to be a fixture of action, goals and talking points.

This season's encounter will be no different, as United look to not only to overturn a 3-2 defeat in Bradford earlier in the season - a game where United were three down before half time - but also look to put a real spanner in the works with regards to Bradford's plans to win the league this season.

Avenue currently sit top of the league just one point clear of Boston United but with two games in hand and have only lost once on the road this season; a 4-2 defeat at North Ferriby a few weeks ago.

The game will also prove a good benchmark for United's current squad, as the talk on the terraces on Saturday was much about players playing for their spots in the next season's squad with some players obviously relishing the pressure of needing to perform.

Margy has also spoken recently about giving the youngsters a chance, and how the bench against Matlock had four players under the age of twenty. Although the three young subs weren't on the pitch long against Hucknall on Saturday they impressed with commitment and their own eagerness to impress, something which some supporters haven't always seen from all of the players this term.

However, Margy has been pleased with the squad in training. "The players' attitude has been fantastic in training so we'll see how things go from here. They know that no-one's place in the team or even the squad is secure and that’s been shown by a number of new lads coming in over the last couple of games. Chris Ovington is one we’ve brought in from Bradford and he gave us a promising half hour on Saturday. He can't play on Wednesday though as part of the agreement we made when signing him, but some of the others who've come up through the youth ranks will be involved."

Back to the task in hand, and this will be the eighth time the two teams have met since they first crossed paths in the 2007-2008 season. Surprisingly; given the competitive rivalry between the clubs, United have yet to win one against the Avenue and Margy will be looking for his team to change this and get a moral boosting win against the leagues top team going into the final eight games.

"Bradford will obviously be a tough test for us but we've got to be looking forward to these games. They're top of the league and no one expects us to beat them but if we turn up and put in the work rate and endeavour that we showed against Matlock and Hucknall then we'll give them a real test. If we do what we can then they'll really have to perform to beat us."

The two teams have had some really good encounters in previous years with memorable games like the drubbing in the FA Trophy, Rory Patterson's brace for Avenue in last season's away fixture and not forgetting the final game of last season which both teams seemed to have nine men up front in the dying minutes looking for the winning goal that would have sent either into the play-offs.

United haven't lost a midweek game this season at Gigg Lane this season and will be looking to the supporters to get behind the team once more to provide the catalyst against a team that has been the thorn in our sides over recent seasons, and with only three games left at home after Wednesdays game it's important to get to the game and more importantly behind the team.

Some of us; the more positive, still have lingering hopes of sneaking into the play-offs but United have to take it one game at a time and a win to topple the table toppers would be ideal way to kick start the run up the rails. So get yourself to that football ground!! CP


FC got back to winning ways on Saturday with the comprehensive defeat of Hucknall Town. Two nil might sound like a solid rather than spectacular win but the standard of play was superb at times. The wingers and fullbacks combined in marauding raids down the wings, there were bulldozing challenges and commitment in the centre of the attack as well as central defence and Sam Ashton was able to watch one header go over his bar and save the only other effort on the FC goal comfortably as the ball ricocheted around the penalty box.

If we create only half as many chances against league leaders Bradford it's going to be an interesting night. A message on the Bradford forum suggests 200 of their supporters will be making the trip over the Pennines on Wednesday, so let's make sure we crank up the atmosphere another couple of notches from Saturday for them.

• BPA: Field strong teams


You know, the film with Gwyneth Paltrow, where it shows two parallel story lines based on whether or not she just made it through the sliding doors to get onto the tube to go home? Well I must tell you FC United also have a parallel existence with one or two subtle changes... Australia hasn't been discovered yet, Macclesfield Town are a big club, FC never played Halifax in a preseason friendly, all footballers from the Emerald Isle (north or south) are quiet unassuming types who stay put once they have found their spiritual home and a couple of years ago I won the Euro Lottery jackpot with the only ticket I ever bought down at the offie with the loose change from a special offer on a sixpack of Fosters.

In this parallel existence FC are now top of the Conference North playing in a brand spanking new stadium built to Andy Walsh’s exact specifications in Manchester and I'm drinking Stella rather than Fosters.

On the other hand, are we already the ones living in the parallel universe, and in the real world nobody ever told Martin Edwards how to float a football club on the stock exchange?

Strong stuff that Fosters.


To start with let me say that I treat my wife well. I also don't drink copious amounts of beer (anymore) just the odd sherry now and again...

However in this week of renewed rivalry with our northern cousins I have to admit that I was born and bred in the White Rose county. I was an OOT (out of towner) watching longingly from over the Pennines towards Old Trafford during my formative years. My family were football/sports fans but there was no Red blood in them. My elder tormentor of a brother was a Leeds fan as were all the lads in my road apart from one other who for some reason was chosen by the football gods to support Everton.

Living, what seemed as a child, a million miles away from Old Trafford I had to make do with pretending to be my heroes, George, Denis, Bobby and then Brian, scoring goals in between the gateposts (we were posh, we lived in a semi). Pestering to get to Manchester never worked but eventually my father took me to the likes of Turf Moor, Burnley and Leeds Road, Huddersfield where I finally realised my dream and saw the red shirts and my heroes in the flesh.

It wasn't a good time after '68 and into the early 70's being a United fan surrounded by Leeds fans. Destiny seemed to have discarded United on the football scrap heap during my formative years but hope still burned brightly in those trips over the Pennines before I eventually moved over to become an honorary Manc in '76. Only a few months later I stood on the terraces at Wembley in '77, ending nine years of adolescent frustration and surrounded by grown men reduced to tears, as we all watched Martin Buchan lift the FA Cup.

So on Wednesday evening against Bradford Park Avenue I shall have a wry smile on my face as I join in the Roses banter and roar on the red shirts to finally put one over the team from up the road from where I used to live.

Yawkshire Red