Ilford boss Fowell is looking forward to local derby under the lights away at Redbridge

Ilford manager Jonny Fowell during his time as Clapton boss (Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Ilford manager Jonny Fowell during his time as Clapton boss (Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo) - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Ilford manager Jonny Fowell is looking forward to some friendly rivalry with opposite number Micky Wetherall when they take on local rivals Redbridge on Friday.

The Foxes travel away to the Motormen's Oakside Stadium tomorrow evening as they both look to pick up some much-needed points to keep climbing up the Essex Senior League table.

Redbridge have picked up five consecutive league wins but have not played for over five weeks while Fowell's Ilford lost 1-0 to Cockfosters on their return to action on the weekend.

"It's a big game. Micky has done a great job over there, but Ricky Eaton had also done a good job before that as well," said former Clapton boss Fowell.

"I've got a lot of time for Micky, he's a really nice guy, we talk on the phone a lot and we get on well.

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"For 90 minutes we'll put our friendship aside to get three points, we need to get the points, and they need to get them as well as they're on a good run.

"Hopefully we can pip them, either way I'll buy him a beer whether we win or lose, so it's just going to be a good bit of banter.

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"We'll both be on that sideline calling for every throw-in and free-kick, nothing is going to change because of our friendship."

Fowell knows it's a big month coming up as they look to reach their target as soon as possible to allow them to start playing with freedom.

"We've got a massive month. I do believe we're only 9-12 points away from avoiding relegation, which was the target when Adam, Darren and I took over," he said.

"We're on 21, we want to get to 32 to be safe, and then that would see us through to the end of the season so we could relax and play the way we want to play."

A 72nd-minute goal from James Verney sealed the three points for Cockfosters on Ilford's return to action following a lengthy Christmas break.

"They haven't played for five weeks, but I know Micky and know he would have got them out training and running, so I doubt they'll be unfit,"said Fowell.

"At step five it's difficult as we don't have the luxury like the Isthmian of playing Boxing Day and New Years Day, which is a shame really as the league should do something as I think it would entice crowds."

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