Saints solely focused on three points ahead of Tudors clash

The last meeting between the Saints and the Tudors, on April 5, in the Southern League, ended in a 0

The last meeting between the Saints and the Tudors, on April 5, in the Southern League, ended in a 0-0 draw. Picture: Bob Walkley - Credit: Archant

Winning three points is all St Albans City joint manager James Gray is concerned about ahead of the Boxing Day derby against Hemel Hempstead at Clarence Park.

A bitter rivalry has developed between the teams in recent years – they drew both their Southern League fixtures last season and shared wins in the Herts Charity and Senior cups – mainly due to the close proximity of Clarence Park and Hemel’s Vauxhall Road.

Both earned promotion last season – Hemel as champions – so Boxing Day will be the first instalment of the Saints versus Tudors in the Vanarama Conference South.

Gray, though, is playing down the ‘rivalry’ and is instead focusing on the points on offer.

“A win against Hemel means three points. It’s a game of football and we need three points as much as we do. Rivalries are for the supporters,” he said.

“I’ve known Dean [Brennan, Hemel manager] for years. We know them and they know us. If we’re on our mettle then we should get the three points.”

Tenth-placed St Albans sit one place above Hemel in the table on goal difference going into the game but the Tudors have a game in hand, and have won two of their last three league games while the Saints lost their last outing, away at Bromley.

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With the chance to either leapfrog or put distance between their near neighbours, City and Hemel fans are sure to some out in droves as their teams vie for local bragging rights.

“Hemel in form and their supporters will come so we’re hoping it’s a bumper crowd. We need [the fans] to come down in force on Boxing Day and make some noise; that will help us,” added Gray.

As an added Christmas present, the fixture gods have given us the fixture twice in a matter of days as the teams meet again on New Years Day at Vauxhall Road.

Both games have an earlier kick-off time of 1pm.