Ilkley set for unmissable Steeton clash

North West Counties League 

Ilkley Town manager Sam Dexter

Ilkley Town manager Sam Dexter describes the festive home clash against neighbours Steeton as an unmissable encounter (kick off 1pm on December 27th).

Both teams are going good guns in the NWC First Division One North. 

Ilkley are looking to maintain their hold on a play-offs spot whilst Roy Mason’s in-form Steeton have the opportunity to close the gap on the top five.

“It is going to be a really tough test as they’re coming into it off the back of some really good form,” Dexter told Non League Yorkshire.

“I don’t see it as a local derby because we don’t really have any history of playing each other as in the last ten years I think we have only played each other four times and one was a pre-season friendly.

“What I see is two very good clubs representing the local area really well in the North West Counties which is a notoriously difficult league to play in.

“People probably want there to be animosity and ill-feeling towards each other but there isn’t and I have a lot of admiration for Roy (Mason).

“I have a lot of respect for what they have done and you could say they were the trailblazers for going up to Step 6 as they set the tone for clubs like Ilkley and Horbury to make that jump.

“It should be a good game and what is most important for the two clubs is where we are in the table.

“(Steeton) are very much on the ascendancy and we’re where we are so it will make for a good fixture and if I was a local supporter I’d be definitely going to watch it.

“We pride ourselves on how we go forward and Steeton are probably more direct than us but that causes issues and problems we have to make sure we deal with.

“It should be an interesting game.”

Ilkley Town manager Sam Dexter

Ilkley have been a surprise package this season.

Dexter’s men have been up at the top end all campaign.

Dexter has consistently refused to discuss targets and he remains silent at the midway point.

“We’re really enjoying and there’s absolutely no expectations on us to push for promotion this season,” he said.

“We find ourselves in a really good position and we’re enjoying it but there are teams around us who have more experience at this level and under far more pressure than we are to mount a challenge.

“Having said that, we want to finish as high up the table as possible as we can and we’re in a really good position.

“I try and keep the players focussed on the next game.

“We got beat by Ashton who are bottom of the league so you can’t afford to take anything for granted.

“On the flip side of the coin we know we can beat anyone as well. 

“If you get carried away with where you are in the table I think it is such a dangerous game so my constant message to the players is focus on the next game.

“We’re enjoying it and let’s see what happens.”

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