READ make the short trip to their arch rivals Padiham tomorrow – and skipper Kyle O’Connor is desperate to see the derby restored to a twice-a-season occasion.
A winter Houldsworth Ribblesdale League re-shuffle to create two top divisions has seen Read and Padiham split up with O’Connor’s men in Section A and Callum Clarke’s Padiham in Section B.
That means the neighbours will only do battle in one league derby and O’Connor wants his main local rivals, who are captained by his close mate Clarke, finish in the top two in order to win promotion into Section A.
“I’ve said to Callum I want Padiham to do well this season,” said O’Connor.
“It’s probably the only time I will say that – but I want to have two derbies a season.
“They are proper games that everyone wants to play in with a big crowd and a great atmposphere.
“And if Padiham manage to win promotion from Section B, we will get to play them twice next season.
“As well as the pride at stake for winning, the games are really important for the clubs because they bring a lot of revenue in and that’s something everyone needs.”
While the formbook would suggest a Read win when the pair collide at The Arbories, the nature of the derby means anything can happen between two sides, who are a leisurely stroll apart.
“They are big games,” added O’Connor. “Obviously we all know each other and that makes for an edge – you never want to lose the derby.”
Read and Padiham are not the only local rivals locking horns tomorrow as the first double header of the season is an eyecatcher.
West Craven rivals Barnoldswick and Earby clash at Victory Park in another game where neither side will give an inch, while local pride is also very much on the agenda at Chatburn Road as reigning champions Clitheroe host their cross-town rivals Ribblesdale Wanderers.
Brooksbottom go into the weekend without a league win and they would love nothing more than to upset Edenfield when they travel the three miles to Gincroft Lane.
Euxton and Brinscall meet at Balshaw Park, while Whalley – who boast a 100 per cent record going into the weekend – host Oswaldtwistle Immanuel at Station Road.
Great Harwood will have a bumper crowd at The Cliffe for their Bank Holiday Sunday home clash with Baxenden, while Cherry Tree are on the road as they hop across Blackburn and into the Ribble Valley for their game at Salesbury, who are determined to bounce back from their loss to Earby.