Plenty riding on derby outcome for both Harleston Town and Diss Town ahead of Saturday clash
Neither manager is downplaying the significance of this weekend’s derby encounter between Harleston Town and Diss Town in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North.
Both Harleston’s Leon Moore and Diss’ Jon Abbott are enthused about the upcoming clash at Wilderness Lane on Saturday (3pm).
They have faced each other twice this season so far – with a win apiece – as Harleston took a 1-0 away victory in the reverse fixture before Diss exacted revenge a month later with a 3-2 away win in the Norfolk Senior Cup.
Harleston sit top of the league standings with four fixtures remaining but, despite a seven point cushion to second place, could still be overtaken by third-placed Swaffham Town, who have three games in hand.
Moore said his side cannot afford to drop points with this threat hanging over their title ambitions as he called for a performance similar to the one his squad produced in their last league outing, a 5-1 home defeat of Haverhill Borough last Saturday.
“It was a very, very pleasing performance,” he said. “To put another team to the sword like that was impressive and just fantastic.
“The squad is fantastic and the ambition is there without me forcing it, I’m only there to guide the ship as such.
“(Hosting Diss) is going to be a tough game though as I think they have a point to prove against us in the derby; they’re not going to want to help us win the league.
“There’s a lot riding on it for us in terms of the league, for them I guess it’s about the derby because they’re not going up or down at this point.”
Abbott, however, disputed this as he said the game is ‘big for us too’.
“We are looking forward to it,” he said. “It’s a local derby and it’s a game Harleston have to win, which just raises the stakes.
“It’s big for them, but it’s big for us too; we want to finish as high as we can, and win the derby too.
“But they are a very good side so we know we will need to be at our best.”
He said their 4-0 away defeat to Swaffham last Saturday would have no bearing on this weekend, feeling the result did not reflect the game’s narrow margins.
“We’re not worried because we are in good form,” he said. “I was away but the feedback I have had is that it was a game of fine margins where we didn’t take our chances and they did.
“So we expect it to be different this weekend.”