Melton Town and Holwell Sports will meet in a rare derby clash after they were paired together in last week’s County Senior Cup draw.
Holwell will make the short trip from their Asfordby Hill home to the Digital Deadline Park for the hotly-anticipated quarter-final tie on Tuesday, November 29 (kick-off 7.30pm).
The clubs may be less than four miles apart, but meetings between the two are rare with Holwell traditionally holding a higher rung on the non-league ladder.
This season is the first that both share the same step following Melton’s promotion from the Leics Senior League in May.
But they are still divided by different leagues with Town joining the United Counties League instead of Holwell’s East Midlands Counties League.
Skipper Lee Mann is one of Melton’s longest-serving players with a decade at the club, sandwiched either side of a season at Welby Road when Matt Curtis made the managerial switch to Holwell in 2010.
“In an ideal world it would have been nice to meet Holwell in the final,” Mann said.
“They are a very good team so it was never going to be an easy draw, but it will be a good test for us.”
Holwell captain Aaron Ridout hopes the game will draw a big crowd and believes it will remind the town of what it has lost.
“Everyone is really up for it because we don’t get many derbies,” he said.
“Local football has died off here a bit with Welby Lane going and Asfordby Amateurs folding and it’s really down to just us two at the moment.
“These are the kind of games you want to be involved in and what you play football for. I’m sure the changing room will be buzzing.”
The last match between the sides came six years ago when Melton sprang a surprise, beating their higher league neighbours on penalties in the final of the Melton Charity Cup.
The many links between the two clubs add extra spice to the clash with several players having had a foot in both camps at times during their careers.
The current crop to have played for both shirts include Town’s leading scorer Ash Palfreyman and summer signing Tom Byrne who both came through the junior ranks at Welby Road.
For Holwell, David Hazeldine and Kieran Foster have both returned after spells with Melton, while current manager John Webster was on Town’s backroom staff as recently as last season.
Ridout said: “A lot of the lads play together in Sunday football so we all know each other well, but when it comes to the match, we need to show what we are made of.
“Holwell have been the team for so long, but Melton are now seen as the team on the up so we will definitely have something to prove.”
Mann added. “A lot of our players know a lot of the Holwell guys so it will be interesting to go up against friends,”
“Both teams like to play good football so we’ll be expecting a fast-paced game.
“It definitely has spice so there will be a few healthy tackles, but I’m sure it will be played in the right spirit and be exciting for the spectators.”
For more build-up, see next week’s Melton Times.