The gloves are off as Nelson prepare for rivals

Waqas Azams last-minute free kick beats the Bootle keeper last time out for Nelson. Picture: Mark Wilkinson
Waqas Azams last-minute free kick beats the Bootle keeper last time out for Nelson. Picture: Mark Wilkinson

The gloves are off as Nelson boss Paul Fildes prepares to take on ‘good friend’ Steve Cunningham at Victoria Park next week.

The pair worked together at Runcorn Linnets when the Colne boss was Steve Wilkes’s assistant but they’ll go head-to-head in the “Pendle Clasico” next week.

“The gloves are off,” said Fildes. “We’ve been good friends for years; we’ve played together, played against each other and now we’ll be opposite each other in the dug outs.

“I’ve told him there’ll be no friendship when the game starts. The pressure will be on him but there’s no pressure on us.

“It’s a big game, we will take it very seriously, and there’s pride at stake. Colne need to come here and win. They’re up there challenging for the title so they need those three points.

“I’ll make sure that my players understand the importance of the derby. We’ve got to be up for it but we’ve got to stay disciplined.”

First though the Admirals will be looking to climb in to mid-table when they travel to Ashton Athletic tomorrow.

“We can climb to 11th if we win and other results go our way,” said Fildes. “It’s a tough game, they all are at this level, but this one is a ‘must win’ for me. We want to progress and this can be a stepping stone for us.”

Meanwhile, captain Luke Thompson has been awarded the club’s player of the month for February.

“He’s been unbelievable,” Fildes said. “He’s been like that since I signed him. He’s given me everything, he’s been brilliant and his attitude has been great since I made him captain.

“He’s hungry and he deserves the award because he’s been instrumental for us.”