CLOSE friends both in football and away from the sport means Wednesday night's first-ever competitive Worcester Derby between Raiders and City will be a new experience for managers Chris Cornes and Karl Gormley.

The pair worked together at Raiders for a number of years; overseeing the club's rise into Step 6 and move into Sixways before Cornes - now Worcester City boss - was unexpectedly sacked in 2020. 

Since then, Gormley has continued to lead Raiders' charge and now they head into Wednesday night's clash with City as one of the title favourites in the Hellenic League Premier, the same level as City.

And that fact alone gives Gormley an immense sense of pride.: "When I started with Raiders eight years ago, we could never have dreamt that all this time later we would be playing City in the same league.

"It just goes to show how far the club have come in such a short space of time and of course I feel a lot of pride but it's not just me.

"There has been a lot of hard work from a number of people; managers, coaches, volunteers, chairman, vice chair.

"It will be a big night for us as a club on Wednesday and to be able to stand there on the same pitch as them will be special for us."

And on facing good friend Cornes: "Chris and I have been friends since we were at school, I am friends with his friends and family, I get on well with his mum and dad and we are really close mates.

"But on Wednesday that will all go out the window for 90 minutes and we will not be friends for that time, that’s for sure, not until that whistle is blown."

As For Cornes, he admits it is going to be a strange feeling being on the same touchline as Gormley and not working together.

"I have great friends at the club and their core fans that have been there throughout are brilliant people and I grew up with a lot of them," he said.

"So it is going to be a strange one, to be honest. It is the first time I will have even been back to the stadium.

"As for me and Karl, it is going to be weird and we have talked about that in the build-up, we are good pals and Karl played football with my older brother when I was just a baby so I have known him forever.

"Our families have always mixed so we know each other inside and out. So it is going to be very weird lining up on the side of the pitch wanting each other to lose!

"But we will try not to look at each other and try not to talk to each other. But it is going to be a massive game and hopefully, we come out of it with a win."