FC United of Manchester, the club set up by Manchester United supporters in 2005, visit Whitby Town’s Turnbull Ground tomorrow with a record attendance likely.
The first meeting of the two sides at Whitby produced a gate of 1,089 – Town’s highest league gate since joining the Northern Premier League –but that figure may be eclipsed with 750 away fans expected alone.
Both clubs are just two points adrift of the play-off places though United hold four games in hand on the Blues.
However, Town player-manager Darren Williams believes that the sides around Whitby may have to squeeze a number of games into a short space of time at the end of the season, particularly with an extra two teams in the league, this season.
“I’d rather have the points on the board” he said.
“We haven’t had the bad weather, but whether we will or not, I don’t know – other teams might have to face that.”
Williams is expecting Dave McTiernan to recover in time to feature after limping out of Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Rushall Olympic.
The Blues boss is expecting another close game but is drawing inspiration from September’s 3-1 victory over United at their Gigg Lane home.
“It’ll be a tough one,” Williams conceded, “but we’ve gone down there and beaten them. FC have changed a bit, but we need to not be concerned about other teams.
“It’s important to win because it’s at home .”
The Blues have worked hard to improve their previously-poor form at the Turnbull Ground after a run of just one win in 13 at HQ since the start of the season.
Town then won three home games on the trot on their way to picking up December’s club of the month award, then held leaders Skelmersdale United 2-2. The Seasiders have lost just twice in the league at home, but have recorded eight draws – more than anyone else in the division.
Town are also yet to beat Karl Marginson’s FC United side at the Turnbull, having lost 1-0 to the Red Rebels in September 2012, on their last visit. The teams have drawn three times, twice goalless, and United edged another tight encounter 1-0 in March 2011.
As well as their name and colours, another link with the Old Trafford United is the presence of Ryan Giggs’ elder brother Rhodri in the FC ranks.
The younger Giggs sibling (36) scored the Rebels’ opening goal in their 2-1 Doodson Sport League Cup win at Ossett Town on Tuesday, only to be sent off later in the game.
Giggs was dismissed after a scuffle as the teams made their way off the pitch at half-time.
Their top scorer Tom Greaves is just one league goal behind the Blues’ Graeme Armstrong on 18.
FC United have lost just once in eight matches. The Seasiders are looking to extend their own nine-match unbeaten run, after suffering just one league defeat since October.
Admission on Saturday is the usual £9 adults, £5 concessions, £2 under 18s and under 16s get in free when accompanied by a paying adult.
Kick-off is 3pm.
There will be a dominoes drive tonight in the Whitby Town Clubhouse from 8pm.