Hemel Stags get their Kingstone Press League 1 campaign under way on Good Friday with a trip to local rivals London Skolars.
There have been some exciting and closely fought clashes between the two sides over recent seasons, and more of the same is expected this time around.
Stags coach Troy Perkins said: “It’s a game we’re all looking forward to.
“It’s our derby game and over the past few years there’s been some pretty decent games between the two teams with only a couple of points deciding the game, so I think it will be similar this year.
“Losing both cup matches has left us without a game for a few weeks. Skolars are in the same boat with two heavy losses so they’ll be looking to put things right, especially with our assistant going there a couple of weeks ago to take up the coach role.
“So there are a few interesting match ups on the playing and coaching side of it.
“We’ve had a few weeks to work on a few things and hopefully we’ve turned a few things around and will be a lot better against Skolars. It’s been a long pre-season so all the players are looking forward to getting stuck in.”
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“I think it’s probably an ideal fixture for me in terms of only having had two weeks with the team and six or seven training sessions,” he said.
“In that respect I probably couldn’t have asked for a better team to play against because I know what to expect. Two weeks ago I was doing the opposite.
“Obviously I’ve got a lot of playing experience myself at Skolars. It’s just a case of settling in and trying to get my point of view across and the way I want to play and seeing how they respond to that and the challenges over the next month; we’ll build from there.
“The squad’s got a lot of young players in it with a little bit of inexperience.
“On the back of the two results they’ve had they’re pretty low on confidence so my remit in this first month is just to get a handle on the players and really get to know them.
“It is a local derby so you would expect the players to be up for it. That lack of confidence will hopefully go out of the window as proven in the last couple of seasons where the form goes of the window.”