Calder ‘76 boss Rob Kenworthy believes his side have a great chance of progressing to the Challenge Cup semi-finals at the expense of derby rivals Midgley United.
The pair meet at Luddenden Foot (1.45) on Saturday and Kenworthy’s in-form side are looking to avenge a 1-0 away defeat in the AFL in the first game of the season.
To do that, Kenworthy believes Calder must stand up to Midgley’s robust approach and counter the threat they pose in the air.
Calder’s five-match unbeaten run - which included wins at Ealandians and Shelf - was ended by title favourites Stump Cross last week. However. there was no disgrace in a 4-3 defeat to a side making it six wins out of six in the Premier Division this season.
Kenworthy rates Stump as the league’s set piece kings and said the damage to his side had been done from excellent Tom Robinson deliveries from free kicks and corners.
“Apart from set pieces Stump never opened us up and I think our players took some confidence from the game, even though we lost,” he said.
Kenworthy said Midgley’s style of play was not unlike that of Stump.
“I rate Midgley a lot. I think Craig Gee is a very good manager and Midgley are a really good team,” he said.
“Midgley versus Calder games are always close, hard games but at home I think we have a great chance.
“They are very direct and know how to win at home while we like to play with some width.
“Our pitch is flatter and wider than theirs and we know how to use it.”
Calder hope to have Steve Jones and Ricky Topham back for Saturday and Kenworthy also hopes Simon Stansfield may shake off a hamstring injury.
Calder have strengthened with additions from now-defunct Wadsworth United this season but it is a player who arrived 12 months earlier from United who is helping to show the way.
Jonathan Gibson scored 20 goals last season and already has 17 this time, adding two more to his tally last week.
“He’s been brilliant for us,” said Kenworthy.
Midgley boss Craig Gee is also looking forward to the rematch, a late Calum Rodgers goal having given his side their early success against Calder.
He said: “We are happy to play down there.
“These are good times for Valley football - everyone knows each other. It is perhaps a pity we are not meeting later in the competition.”
Halifax AFL leaders Midgley got back to winning ways, following their shock Halifax FA Saturday Cup defeat at Mixenden, with a 7-2 success away to Elland United five days ago.
Gee said: “It was a decent performance in some areas and we dominated from the off.”
Rodgers played 60 minutes after injury and Gee expects Midgley to be close to full strength.
It is a big weekend for Midgley with Nick Farrar’s reserve side facing St Columbas at Natty Lane, Illingworth in the Invitation Cup semi-final.
Midgley Reserves have an even record in Division One while St Columbas are one of four sides heading Division Two on 22 points.
Gee said the reserves had a fairly settled side at the moment and were playing consistently well. They had lost in the final of this competition around four years ago.