Sporting Bengal United manager Imrul Gazi expects this week’s Essex Senior League encounter with Redbridge to be an entertaining match and knows a lot will be at stake.
The two local rivals will do battle at the Mile End Stadium on Wednesday night in a 7.45pm kick-off.
Bengal have had the better start to the season with four wins from nine league fixtures while the Motormen have won three, drawn three and lost four from their 10 games in the division.
Ricky Eaton and Joey May’s Redbridge are still in the FA Vase though, and recorded a fine 4-1 away win at Southend Manor on Saturday and the visitors could have even more motivation considering the 2-1 loss they suffered at Mile End towards the end of last season, back on April 21, dented their promotion hopes.
Gazi said: “We always have entertaining games with them and it is a local one and of course the first of two derbies this week with Clapton visiting on Friday.
“We have enjoyed the rub of the green in recent games with Redbridge and I am sure they will be after a little bit of revenge after we messed up any hopes they had of promotion last season.
“They are a slightly different team compared to when we played them before, but I have been told they have made some new signings lately.
“A lot of my players are very friendly with their players, so this will be a little bit of a grudge match from a players’ point of view and the banter will be flying before, during and most importantly after too.
“I am sure everyone involved wants bragging rights, but more when it comes to the squads rather than the managers and I just want to see us hopefully continue our great recent form.”
Bengal made it four games without defeat on Saturday following a hard-fought draw at home to new boys Hoddesdon Town.
Town only joined the Essex Senior League this season – making the sideways step via the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division – and yet they have settled right at home quickly.
Hoddesdon are fifth in the table, but may have been higher had Steve Carvell not got on the scoresheet in the 80th minute for Bengal to cancel out Courtney Clay’s first-half effort in Mile End.
“A 1-1 draw was probably a fair result and I’ll take that considering where they are in the league and the fact we didn’t know much about them,” Gazi said.
“They are probably the most organised team we have faced this season and they have a good set up with a nice blend of youth and experience.
“All of them were really friendly, all of their committee team come along and were lovely and they seem a really well-run club.
“I can see why they have done so well this season and I expect them to be up there come the end of the campaign.”