Lancaster City boss Phil Brown believes his side’s Boxing Day derby with Kendal Town has all the makings of a Christmas cracker.
The Dolly Blues host their near neighbours in the traditional festive feast knowing a win would see them leapfrog the Mintcakes in the Evo-Stik First Division North table.
Always a spicy affair, the returns to Giant Axe of Craig Carney and Tom Kilifin from Parkside Road look to have set things up nicely.
Brown said: “It should be a good game for all involved.
“Everyone, fans and players, loves it when football comes around over Christmas.
“And with it being our neighbours or rivals, whatever you want to call them, it has all the makings of a good game.
“Lots of players will have played for both clubs and obviously Tom Kilifin and Craig Carney have just come back to us.
“Hopefully they are looking forward to it and ready to put in a good performance to get a good result for Lancaster City.”
Kilifin and Carney have returned to the Blues as Kendal battle financial problems.
A host of senior players, manager Michael Stringfellow, assistant boss Iain Swan and chairman Haydon Munslow have all left the club.
The returning pair were back at Spennymoor Town on Saturday with Brown having plenty to ponder selection wise with a game at Prescot Cables to follow quickly on Monday, December 28.
Brown said: “Danny Carlton is the only real injury problem we’ve got.
“He’ll be out for a few weeks after tweaking his knee against Ashton Athletic.
“I’ve got a few selection headaches.
“We’ve got four games over the next nine days with Brighouse and Bamber Bridge in the cup (at the start of January) so we’re going to need everyone available.”
City go into the festive period on the back of a 1-1 draw at play-off chasing Spennymoor Town on Saturday, Nathan Fisher’s late goal denying Brown’s men all three points.
The Blues boss said: “It’s a funny one.
“We deserved to take all three points. I thought we played really, really well.
“We were a real threat and were more than worth our 1-0 lead. We rode our luck at times but I couldn’t see them scoring and thought we might get two and three.
“So to concede a late goal again, it’s the third time it’s happened, was a bit of a kick in the teeth.
“It’s a good point but we should have had three.”
Elsewhere, Lancaster also found out this week that they will take on North West Counties Premier Division side Padiham in the semi-finals of the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy at the County Ground in Leyland on February 23.
Brown said: “We’ve spoken as a group about how we want to get the final.
“It would be fantastic for the club but we’ve got a difficult game to come.
“It’s a one-off game and Padiham have turned a bit of a corner. They’ve got some new players and picked up some results.
“They’ve done really well to get to the semi-finals but we know if we apply ourselves we’ll be able to get a result.
“It gives us something to look forward to but we’ve got a lot of important games between now and then and my focus is fully on Kendal.”