Published: 00:00, 31 December 2019
| Updated: 11:07, 31 December 2019
Manager Lloyd Blackman thinks Whitstable Town’s derby at Herne Bay will be an exciting spectacle.
The two teams will lock horns on New Year’s Day.
Having fallen to a 2-1 home defeat against Ashford on Boxing Day, the Oystermen, 11th in Isthmian South East, will look to get back on track while ninth-placed Bay are scheduled to return to action after an 18-day break.
But Blackman admits it’s hard to predict whether the enforced break will have a positive or a negative impact on Herne Bay’s performance.
He said: “There’s certainly two ways of looking at it.
“Will they be a bit fresher than us or a bit rustier than us? It’s difficult to predict before the game.”
A bumper crowd is expected at Winch’s Field.
Blackman said: “I think the two clubs deserve it.
“They will bring a big following with them.
“It will be an exciting spectacle.
“It’s 1-1 on the bragging rights, with us having won the league game (3-0 in August) and them having beaten us in the Velocity Trophy (in November).
“I’ll just focus on the game for what the game is.
“There is always that extra edge to these local derbies but, if we can focus on what we are good at, hopefully, we can do enough to come out on top.”
At the Belmont on Boxing Day, Josh Wisson gave the away team the lead before former Gillingham youth prospect Harry Stannard levelled for Whitstable.
But Lee Prescott came up with the all-important third goal for Ashford shortly before the hour mark, as the third-placed Nuts and Bolts moved on to 31 points.
Blackman said: “It was a good, competitive, game to be honest.
“I think, with the conditions and the way the pitch was, it was a challenging day for both sides.
“We were frustrated and disappointed to not get anything out of the game.
“On reflection, I think we had the better chances and should have been a goal or two goals up before they got one.
“Overall, we feel like we could have got something from the game.”
Blackman has no new injury concerns, with defender Liam Dickson (Achilles) remaining the only fitness concern.
Whitstable are at home to seventh-placed Sevenoaks on Saturday.
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More by this authorThomas Reeves