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Local rivalry ready to be restored for new season
IT has been six years since Hereford United and Kidderminster Harriers both played in non-league’s top-flight.
Since then, the Bulls have plied their trade in the Football League and risen as high as League One under Graham Turner.
Harriers, meanwhile, have sought a place back among the 92 clubs following their relegation in 2005, finishing just outside the play-offs in each of the last two seasons.
But, following Hereford’s exit from League Two in May, that rivalry is ready to be restored in the Blue Square Bet Premier during 2012-13.
The two clubs will once again be battling for bragging rights among non-league’s elite, including derby matches at Edgar Street and Aggborough on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day respectively.
Hereford get the action under way tomorrow night when they host Macclesfield Town, the team who were demoted with them, in front of the Premier Sports cameras.
Harriers’ kick-off comes on Saturday afternoon with a trip to Sincil Bank to face Lincoln City.
But what of the pair’s chances of success. Can Kidderminster make it third time lucky and reach the play-offs? Will United bounce back at the first attempt?
The Bulls certainly hope they can although history is not on their side with the Conference currently populated by a string of ex-Football League clubs. Manager Martin Foyle believes his new club are treading mid-table water when it comes to the level of resources at their disposal.
He also reckons Mansfield Town, who have spent big since finishing third last time around, are the ones to catch.
“I could name 13 or 14 teams who are probably better equipped than us,” Foyle confessed.
“Mansfield will be the favourites with Luton but outsiders would be Gateshead, Cambridge and Forest Green.
“There’s a lot of money going round the Conference this year. We have just got to make sure we get our house in order.”
Luton and Mansfield are also tipped by the bookies for success and Harriers host the pair in back-to-back matches following their Lincoln opener.
Boss Steve Burr admitted: “It is a tough start, there’s no question about that.
“We’re coming up against teams who are putting a lot of money into their squads but I am very pleased with the players we’ve got considering the ones we’ve lost.
“At the beginning of the season the expectation on all clubs is to try and finish on top of the pile and we’re no different.”
Grimsby Town and Wrexham are also tipped to be challenging for the play-offs, while newly-promoted Hyde, Dartford and Nuneaton Town are all expected to be fighting against relegation.