Silsden head to Barnoldswick Town on Boxing Day (3pm), with Andy Geary looking forward to renewing a ‘healthy rivalry’ with their neighbours.

Geary had a short spell at the helm of the West Craven outfit in 2008 before returning to Silsden midway through last season.

Players have also moved between the sides, with Barlick having snapped up several Silsden players in recent years.

Games between the clubs are usually full-blooded, spicy encounters but Geary says that is all part of a derby duel.

Asked if there was animosity between them, he said: “No, that is too strong a word.

“There is a healthy rivalry. In derby games you expect it to be tough and passionate and I’m sure both sets of supporters will be quite vocal.

“But after the game I would expect us to go and have a drink together.”

Former Silsden players currently in the Barnoldswick ranks are Aaron Hollindrake, Harry Thompson and Jake McEneaney, while James Nettleton has rejoined the Cobbydalers from Town, though is currently unavailable to play.

Geary said: “We have a lot of young lads in our side – six or seven are under 20. They’ve only just come into the team and don’t have the history with Barnoldswick.

“Derby games are often not very pretty but it is the team who wants to win the most who comes out on top.”

While Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at AFC Liverpool brought an end to a three-match winning streak for Silsden, boss Geary believes there is reason for optimism at the club.

He said: “They are talented young lads and, though it’s been tough, we are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully the hard work is starting to pay off.”

Speaking after the defeat to Liverpool, assistant manager Ryan Haigh echoed some of Geary’s sentiments.

He said: “We have sorted out the defence, where Danny Gleave and Danny Fagan have been outstanding.

“Today we missed the experienced James Gill in midfield. We have obviously not converted enough chances, but we have created them.

“Lee McGowan made a good impression. Maybe he will add the missing touch.

“Don’t expect miracles, it may take two or three years to get the best out of the team but the spirit in the camp is good.”