Long Calder wait is over

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A new-look Calder ‘76 side will try to stop Midgley United from registering a quick derby double at the start of their Halifax AFL campaign of Friday evening.

The sides clash in the Premier Division at Midgley Road, Mytholmroyd with United looking to follow up their 4-0 success against Hebden Royd Red Star.

Calder were without a game on the opening night last Friday but boss Rob Kenworthy is eagerly anticipating watching a side with some new recruits and improving younger players.

Calder have picked up players following Wadsworth’s demise and it has been a long build up to league action with a handful of pre-season friendlies plus the club’s six-a-side tournament.

Kenworthy said: “We have been training since early June to help the new lads fit in.

“We have had a really settled 15 for three years with just the odd change.

“Now the young lads are coming to the fore and need a shot in the first team.

“I am excited because we have a young, hungry team and a better squad than we have ever had.”

Midgley boss Craig Gee has stoked the flames ahead of the derby by suggesting that Calder have been doing “a bit of shouting and balling” about what they are going to do this season.

Kenworthy doesn’t know where that kind of talk has been coming from and insists that Midgley, champions Ryburn and last year’s runners-up Stump Cross are still the teams to beat.

Kenworthy is keen for a good start because he believes that if Calder can do well in their first five games then confidence will grow.

Ex-Wadsworth centre back Kieron Sim and former Sowerby United player P J Henderson are likely to be among Friday’s new starters for Calder while Kenworthy is hoping central midfielder Sam Taylor can stay injury-free this winter.

Midgley have written off injured pair Tom Booth and Jamie Coward until the new year but still made an impressive start against Red Star.

They have a couple of injury doubts in Danny Pullen (hamstring) and James Adey (groin). Both came off in last Friday’s win, having picked up the strains in pre-season.

Youngsters Toby Standeven and Calum Wheelwright replaced the pair against Red Star and could get a start.

Gee is expecting a tough test for his men. “They are always good, competitive games against Calder,” he said.

Both of last season’s Calder versus Midgley fixtures came in the first month and the results went with home advantage.

However, Calder have had a cup verdict over Midgley in recent years and were the only team to beat Gee’s side when they were champions in 2012-2013.

Also on Friday, Hebden Royd Red Star will bid to get off the mark at the second attempt this season when they travel to play Sowerby United.

Calder and Midgley’s reserves strings are both at home in Division One on Saturday, against Volunteer Arms and Elland Allstars respectively. Red Star Reserves host St Columbas in Division Two on Saturday.