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Derby crackers are eagerly awaited in Blue Square Bet North
The excitement levels were cranked up ahead of the new Blue Square Bet North Division campaign when the eagerly-awaited fixtures were finally released to the clubs today.
There is great interest locally, with newly-promoted Bradford Park Avenue joining near-neighbours and fellow former Football League outfit FC Halifax Town, long-term neighbouring rivals Guiseley and Harrogate Town in the Conference League’s second tier.
While Avenue enjoyed a promotion-winning campaign Guiseley just missed out.
The Lions finished second in the table but failed to reach the Blue Square Bet Premier (Conference Premier) after being beaten in the play-offs.
The proximity and rivalry between Avenue and Guiseley means their meetings are classed as their biggest derby fixtures and so will fill plum dates in the calendar.
First up is Horsfall Stadium on Boxing Day, with the reverse fixture at Nethermoor on New Year's Day.
The derby games for both clubs against Halifax will also be notable dates for the club’s supporters. Avenue host the Shaymen on Saturday, August 27, just a week after travelling to Harrogate.
The Lions entertain Harrogate on Tuesday, September 18 and then get their teeth into the Shaymen at Nethermoor on Saturday, November 3.
Avenue host Harrogate on the last Saturday in March and then travel to The Shay the following week.
They end the regular season with a home game against Histon on Saturday, April 27. Guiseley have a tough run-in and the trip to Halifax is their penultimate league fixture.
Avenue’s season kicks-off with a home game against Worcester City, while the Lions start with a trip to Cambridgeshire to take on Histon.