West Yorkshire League duo Bardsey and Wetherby Athletic set for derby duel

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Admiration is at the heart of the hotly-contested derby between neighbours Bardsey and Wetherby this weekend - with both club’s managers refusing to stoke up the rivalry .

Saturday’s derby will be the most competitive between the two with Bardsey third and Wetherby fourth in the West Yorkshire Premier.

Both teams also head into the contest in prime form with wins last week. Wetherby triumphed 2-0 over Otley Town, with goals coming from Jonathan Hadley and Robert Stephenson, who replaced Hadley in the 75th minute.

Bardsey fielded a younger squad and manager Lee Barraclough, who is stepping down at the end of the season, was rewarded with a 1-0 victory over the notoriously tough Oxenhope Recreation.

Barraclough is again planning on giving some younger players a chance against Wetherby.

“This match gives us a great chance to experiment with some different players,” he said.

“We’re going to drop some of the superstars, as the young lads did really well for us last week and I’m going to give them another chance.”

Wetherby sit just below Bardsey in the Premier Division, but Barraclough is under no illusions of their quality.

“They had a good season last year, and they re having a great year now.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for their chairman and manager, they’ve done a great job.”

Though the two teams are close geographically, both managers don’t see the game as a huge rivalry.

“Personally, it’s not a rivalry for me, but the lads who grew up here really do see it as one.” said Wetherby manager Mark Forster.

“Obviously it’s the last time we’ll face Baz (Barraclough), so that will add a bit of spice to it.

“I know all the lads, both ours and theirs, will be really up for it and will be desperate to win.”

It was a sentiment echoed by Barraclough, who refused to be drawn on the rivalry between the teams.

While neither team can win the league, Forster was eager for Wetherby to get one over the neighbours to set them up nicely for the run-in.

“We’ve yet to take a point of Bardsey in seven attempts, so it would be lovely if we could get one now,” he said.

“It’s important we keep playing to our best.

We’re on a good run of form and the players are getting used to winning so we need to carry on claiming points.”

However, Forster has been left frustrated by the league schedule, which has seen his team play seven matches more than Leeds City and Oxenhope.

“We only have four matches left this season, so it will be hard to maintain our momentum when we have to take weeks off from playing football.”

l See a full list of fixtures, results and tables on page 91.