Halesowen and Stourbridge ready for red-hot clash in the No.9 derby
Boss Paul Smith claims cool heads will be crucial when Halesowen Town visit rivals Stourbridge tonight in the hotly-anticipated No.9 derby.
The Yeltz make the short trip down the A458 for the first league meeting between the rivals for four years, with more than a third of the 2,300-strong sell-out crowd at the War Memorial Ground set to consist of visiting supporters.
But while Smith is acutely aware of how much the fixture means to fans, he wants his players to ignore the outside noise.
He said: “For me, it is just another game. It is not worth any more or less than the other league games we play.
“It’s crucial they don’t get carried away by the noise and everything which goes on around it and just focus on the game. Cool heads are crucial in a fixture like this.”
Smith admitted he is facing a selection headache after Simeon Cobourne came off the bench to score both goals in Saturday’s 2-0 home win over Stamford, a result which extended Halesowen’s unbeaten start to the league campaign and moved them up to third in the Southern Central Premier table.
Stour are level on points but a place behind in fourth after losing 1-0 at Needham Market.
“We need to get back on track,” admitted Glassboys boss Leon Broadhurst. “We missed chances at Needham which cost us in the second half.”
Former midfielder Broadhurst played for Stour several times against the Yeltz and needs no telling what the derby, named after of the bus route between the towns, means to both clubs.
He said: “It would be true, the way I think as manager, to consider this the same as any other fixture.
“But there is obviously more to it than that. It is a big game because of the size of the crowd, the pride that is at stake as well as the points.
“It will mean something to all the players, managers and coaching staff involved and of course the fans. Even more so as the teams haven’t played each other in recent seasons.”
Supporters without tickets are being urged to stay away from the ground, with fans inside due to be segregated on the advice of West Midlands Police after recent meetings between the clubs were marred by crowd disturbances.