City of Liverpool boss Paul McNally says sentiments will be put aside as their focus is on three points against his former club, Skelmersdale United.
The Purps boss returns to a team that he led to the FA Cup First Round and helped win promotion to the Northern Premier League West.
It will be his first encounter with Skem since succeeding Michael Ellison in the City of Liverpool hotseat.
They now go head-to-head with a place and point separating them. Both sides know that a win will further enhance their bid to avoid slipping into the bottom four.
City of Liverpool go into the game unbeaten in three following wins over Ramsbottom United and Runcorn Linnets. They will go into the contest confident after an impressive display against Bootle which saw them come away with a point.
But for McNally, while the narrative will be around his return, he isn’t focused on the return and has his sights firmly set on leaving the Community Ground with three points.
He told Off The Park: “I had a great time at the club, special times, we created a fantastic tram there that got promoted and got to the FA Cup First Round, it holds a special place in my heart but sentiments aside, it’s three points like any other game and we’ll be going there focused on that.
“I’d like to think I’d get a warm welcome, I don’t think I will get a warm reception but deep down the people that are there, there’s some good people at the club, they know what we achieved,” he added on the potential reception he will receive.
‘But it’s not about that on the day, it’s about us doing a job. For 90 minutes, they’re not friends but after we can have a chat.”
The visit to Skem will be their third straight derby encounter. Also for some Purps it will be a return to their old stomping ground for goalkeeper Ben Barnes, Karl Clair, Kenny Strickland and Danny Mitchley who all swapped the Blues for the Purps.
He continued: “It’s another derby game, we’ve had two in the past week and both feisty affairs – not much in it, nip and tuck – that’s two teams who are well above us in the table. This time it’s swung and we’re a point above Skem.
“On the face of play, we might’ve been above them once but it’s swung in our favour a little bit, they’re at home and will be looking to take us.
“We’re up for every game but they’ll be wanting to prove a point but at the end of the day, it isn’t me vs Richard Brodie or me vs Skem, some of them are my old but it’s about what we can do on the day and can we win and get the three points.
“I keep stressing how important it is for us, it’s just the points to keep our momentum going, we’ve got seven from nine, hopefully we can make it 10 points.”
McNally added his disappointment at their point against Steve McNulty’s side to begin 2023. He said: “I’ve watched the game back, I actually don’t think they troubled us.
“I know they scored, they didn’t trouble us until Andy Owens came on, he changed the perspective of the game, he was just causing chaos.
“I’m a bit disappointed with the goal we conceded, I thought we defended resolutely and I thought we had the better chances so a point is a good point because of where they are but on refection, I do think we should’ve won it.
“But it wasn’t to be and if you asked before the game, would you take a point in the derby, you’d say you would because derbies can go anyway.”