TRY telling Mark Fell that a derby meeting between Nelson and Colne is just another game.

The arch rivals go head-to-head at Nelson’s Victoria Park tonight (7.45pm) in what will be the latest instalment of the match affectionately known as the ‘Pendle Clasico’.


And while it may not have the same status as ‘El Clasico’, Fell insists it means every bit as much to the two biggest towns in the borough of Pendle as Real Madrid versus Barcelona means to the two biggest cities in Spain.

Nelson boss Fell said: “It doesn’t matter what level both clubs are at, it’s always going to be the derby around here.

“There are a load of clubs in this area, there’s your Padihams, your Bacups and your Barnoldswicks, but Nelson-Colne is the one.

“And I don’t think the derby has been as eagerly anticipated as this one is in a very long time. That’s because you’ve got two sides who are trying to progress and get out of this league.

“There is a lot of respect between the clubs and certainly between the managers.

“But there will be needle as there are players who’ve played for both sides.

“There are lads at Colne who I’ve managed at Nelson and there are lads at Nelson who Steve Cunningham has managed at Colne.

“I genuinely hope the people of both towns come out tonight, give us a nice big crowd and give us a great atmosphere and help give us the blood-and-thunder derby we all expect.”

Fell accepts that in-form Colne will be favourites to do the double over his side after they won December’s reverse North West Counties League Premier Division clash between the teams 2-0.

But Fell, who is sweating on the fitness of top-scorer Peter Wright after the plumber hurt his eye at work on Tuesday, said: “We’re champing at the bit because we didn’t get the result the last time we played them and, don’t get me wrong, Colne will undoubtedly be favourites for this game because they’ve just won 10 on the bounce.

“But having said that, one it’s a derby and you take the form book and chuck it out of the window, and two we’ll be a very different proposition after we went to their place after Christmas.

“We will be significantly stronger than we were when we went up there.”

Nelson are famous for becoming the first side to beat Real Madrid in Spain while Colne boss Cunningham claims his team have been compared to Barcelona during their 10-match winning league run which came to an end at Ashton Athletic in midweek.

“I would much rather beat Nelson than have had our 10-game winning run,” said Cunningham.

“We like to play good football, some have even been comparing us to Barcelona, but we have proved we can tough it out in games as well.

“There’s a great rivalry between the two sides and the last game was a really good match which we ended up winning and it would be great to beat them again.”

Fell added: “Hopefully under the lights on a Friday night in a big derby we can produce the goods but whatever happens it should be a fantastic game and a fantastic advert for non-league football in the area.”