Foxes ‘love doing battle’ with Barking foes

Ilford manager Allan Fenn shouts instructions during an Essex Senior League clash (pic: George Phill

Ilford manager Allan Fenn shouts instructions during an Essex Senior League clash (pic: George Phillipou/TGSPHOTO) - Credit: George Phillipou/TGS Photo

Cricklefields Stadium will play host to big derby fixture this weekend

Ilford manager Allan Fenn has wished Barking the best of luck under Glen Golby and Steve Willis, but is determined to beat them in the Essex Senior League.

The Foxes welcome their local rivals to Cricklefields Stadium on Saturday after seeing their clash with Greenhouse last night (Wednesday) postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

Golby is a former team-mate of Fenn’s and the pair are good friends, but will not be for 90 minutes this weekend.

Ilford’s boss has praised the work achieved by Barking’s joint-managers and predecessor Mick O’Shea alongside Rob O’Brien, who is chairman at Mayesbrook Park.

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But this weekend he will be keen to pick up all three points and claim bragging rights, Fenn said: “I love it. We love it when we play Barking. For a club like ours, it is always great to have these local derbies.

“We look forward to them and Glen is a good mate of mine. I’ve known him and his family for years, they’re doing fantastically well over there.

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“Him and Steve have done a good job so far with help from Mick and Rob behind them. I wish them all the best of luck.

“We are really looking forward to the match, it should be a really good competitive game with the tackles flying in, so we can’t wait, it will be a great occasion.”

If Ilford are to taste success this weekend, they’ll look to continue their recent good defensive form.

Barking smashed eight past Tower Hamlets on Tuesday night so the Foxes back four will need to be on top of their game.

Since the start of February, Fenn’s men have played seven matches in all competitions and conceced just seven goals.

They’ve kept three clean sheets in that time, with two of them coming in the past four fixtures.

“Since Dean Matthews joined we have been a lot better at the back,” added Fenn.

“We are defending from the front with the midfield much tighter and Edas Valionis and Justas Paulius have come on leaps and bounds this year.

“In the middle we have plenty of options to pick from at centre back. A lot of credit has to go to Dean, but also the team for taking what he is saying on board.

“A few weeks ago we had the balance of attack and defence right, but we need to improve up top a bit now.”

Last weekend Ilford could only draw 1-1 with local rivals London Bari at the Old Spotted Dog.

Glen Warwick put them ahead in the first half, but Wale Odedoyin was sent off for two bookable offences, before the hosts were awarded a late penalty which Jamal Jimoh converted.

Luke Thomas then saw red and Fenn was unhappy with the referee, adding: “They just seem so inconsistent at this level. We might get one that is really good and then three bad ones in a row.

“We had two goals disallowed against Southend Manor recently that were fine and on Saturday two sent off that shouldn’t have been.

“In the end we couldn’t hold on. I’ve no complaints about the penalty plus they hit the crossbar afterwards. It was frustrating because every 50-50 or 60-40 the referee gave in favour of them and always spoke to our players, but not theirs.”

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