THE battle for south Lincolnshire footballing supremacy between Holbeach United and Deeping Rangers should finally be decided this week.
Rain washed out Saturday’s showdown between the duo at Outgang Road, meaning the UCL Premier Division season will drag on for another week at least.
Lincs FA Senior Trophy winners Holbeach must win at Daventry United (tonight, 7.45pm) and Deeping (Thusday, 7.45pm) to deny Tuncay Korkmaz’s red-hot side fourth place in the table – which would represent the unofficial title of local top dogs.
For Tigers boss John Chand, the extension of the season is something of an irritation – and although he’d love his side to finish fourth, the highly-rated chief has played down the Deeping rivalry.
“In winning the Lincs Cup and guaranteeing a top six finish, we’ve already achieved our goals for the season,” admitted Chand, who delivered Holbeach’s first trophy in nine years last Tuesday night. “To be honest fourth, fifth or sixth is all the same to me.
“But it’s not in my nature to take any games lightly, even if this extra week is far from ideal.
“The Daventry game is the key. If we go there and win, obviously the Deeping game becomes bigger.
“It’s Daventry’s last game before they fold, so they’ll be looking to finish with a win.
“While it’s always nice to finish above your rivals, you don’t win anything for it and it matters little in the grand scheme of things.”
For Rangers boss Tuncay Korkmaz, it’s all about finishing the season with their remarkable unbeaten streak intact.
Since losing 2-1 at Holbeach in the UCL League Cup in February, Deeping have gone on a 16-game unbeaten run in the league.
And if they extend that streak to 17 matches, fourth place will be theirs – something Korkmaz would relish.
The Turkish tactician said: “I’m not going to deny it, it’d be great to finish fourth and take all of the local bragging rights.
“It’s a bit of a pain that we’re still talking about matches, I think we all wanted it done with on Saturday.
“But it is what it is and we have to focus on finishing well. The main aim has always been to keep this run going to the end of the season and we’ve just got one more game left.
“I don’t really care how Holbeach do at Daventry. If we don’t lose against them, we’re fourth.”
Holbeach will have to do without unavailable skipper Jamie Stevens for both games, with Adam Jackson is also unavailable. Deeping have no new injury concerns.
Above the tussle for fourth, Long Buckby sealed the Premier Division crown on Saturday after edging past Blackstones 2-1.
They finish two points above luckless King’s Lynn Town, who may still be promoted. With champions Long Buckby not eligible to go up by virtue of their ground grading, Lynn are vying for one of 12 promotion slots across step five of the non-league ladder.
Meanwhile, Spalding United’s finishing position was confirmed as 13th.
• FOR live updates from the Outgang Road derby, follow @LFPSport on Twitter. See Thursday’s Spalding Guardian for a report and reaction from the Daventry game.