LITTLE Oakley manager Matt Carmichael is looking forward to tomorrow's showdown at rivals Harwich and Parkeston - but admits he will miss going head-to-head with former Shrimpers boss Kieron Shelley.

Shelley left earlier this month and assistant Mike Wallace has taken the reins on a temporary basis, overseeing victories against Barkingside and Newbury Forest.

Carmichael will miss him in the opposition dugout this weekend but is fully focused on getting a vital three points - a result that would be a major boost in his side's quest for title honours.

On-song Oakley are second in Thurlow Nunn League first division south and hot on the heels of leaders Lopes Taveres.

They are only two points behind, admittedly having played two games more.

"I can't wait for this weekend's derby," said Carmichael, who will be going back to his old club, having been a successful player and manager at the Gwinnell and Sons Royal Oak.

"These matches are always a special occasion and we're hopeful of another bumper crowd and good game of football.

"They're always real battles but always played in good spirits.

"That's why I was sad to see Kieron leave Harwich.

"We got on well and he's someone I respected for the job he did over there.

"But I'm also pleased for Mike, because it's given him an opportunity to manage in his own right."

Oakley were left without a game last weekend after the wet weather washed out their scheduled home fixture against Halstead Town.

The Memorial Ground pitch failed a 9am inspection.

It means the Acorns' last match was their 4-1 victory against White Ensign on December 7.

That one came after an 8-0 romp against Newbury Forest, meaning Oakley have plundered a dozen goals in their last two Thurlow Nunn League matches.

After tomorrow, Oakley do not play again mate January 11, when they make the trip to Wormley Rovers.

Premier division neighbours BRANTHAM ATHLETIC were also left without a game last weekend following the postponement of their match at Godmanchester Rovers.

Michael Brothers' Imps make the short trip to Hadleigh United tomorrow (3pm), before going to Long Melford on January 4.