Two local football clubs will face each other under the floodlights of Emley AFC’s Fantastic Media Welfare Ground on Thursday (October 27).

The Huddersfield District League derby between Skelmanthorpe and Shepley will be played on neutral territory at Emley’s ground thanks to both clubs’ partnerships with their ‘bigger brother’ neighbour.

Emley AFC vice-chairman Marcus Pound said: “We’re looking forward to a great occasion on Thursday. Our club partners scheme is still in its infancy but this is exactly what we envisaged when we made these connections.

“It will be a real treat for everyone concerned. It’s a great experience for the two teams and their supporters and we’re looking forward to welcoming everyone connected to Skelmanthorpe and Shepley to our club.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by the managers of both teams. 

Skelmanthorpe manager Antoni Short said: “It’s very rare that some teams/players get to experience this kind of set up unless you have come from a higher level, so to get the chance to manage a Skelmanthorpe team on a night like this makes me feel proud.

“It’s great for the number of committee members who work behind the scenes. It’s nice that Emley AFC can give them a night they won’t forget.”

Shepley manager Sam Haigh said: “It’s always exciting for the players to have the opportunity to play at the Welfare Ground. The stands, floodlights, quality of the pitch and the fact there will be assistant referees will feel a bit foreign to us but it will all give it a cup final feel for those involved.”

Although both teams are towards the foot of the early District League table, Skelmanthorpe’s Short is hopeful it will be an enjoyable spectacle.

He said: “It’s not been the best start to our own season, with management and players leaving so close to the start of the 2022/23 season, but having the club partnership with Emley FC has brought a number of players to the club knowing that there can be a pathway to nights like these.

“With the game being a local derby, I hope the fixture will be a great advert for the league and gets spectators up watching who wouldn’t normally do so on a Saturday due to their own commitments.”

For Shepley, who will be the ‘away’ team on the night, Haigh said: “Shepley v Skelmanthorpe is a big local derby in which we’ve had some memorable games over the years.

“Some players on show have represented both teams, some have played together in the Sunday league and others are friends off the pitch, so there is sure to be a little bit of added ‘needle.’

“Both myself and Antoni believe this should always be the case in these games but also expect it to be played in good spirit.”

Kick off on Thursday October 27 is 7.30pm at the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground, Emley, HD8 9RE. Free entry for all with the Sports Bar and Dugout Diner open for food and drinks.