HEYBRIDGE Swifts and Maldon and Tiptree will meet in a pre-season friendly at the Aspen Waite Arena, on Saturday.

The Isthmian League division north neighbours will meet in the Blackwater derby this weekend, as both clubs continue their preparations for the new campaign.

Swifts vice chairman Steve Spreadbury said: “We look forward to welcoming our neighbours to our newly-refurbished clubhouse and beer garden.

“I’m sure it will be another enjoyable derby between two good footballing sides, and hopefully we’ll get a nice sunny day for it.

“And we are really looking forward to seeing lots of familiar faces again after missing so much football this year.”

Both clubs will be hoping to challenge for promotion in division one north, this season.

Maldon were agonisingly close to missing out on the title last season when the campaign was cut short, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Jammers have had to rebuild their squad this summer after the majority of their side left Park Drive for pastures new, the majority of whom have joined bigger clubs.

Maldon boss Wayne Brown is looking to bring new players in to replace them and he feels the club is an attractive proposition.

Brown said: “Over the last couple of years since I’ve been at Maldon, we’ve had a number of boys who have gone on to go and play in the National League on the back of doing so well for us.

“It’s testament to us with the way that we try and go about things, the football that we try and play, the opportunities that we try and create whilst trying to be solid out of possession.

“If you put all of that together, we’re a really attractive club to come and play for because young lads want an opportunity and we give them that but we also don’t deny them the opportunity to then go on and kick on to try and earn the best deal that they can get elsewhere.

“What’s harmed us this year is Covid, as it has many people but when you’re 14 points clear in the league and you don’t get promoted, I’m 100 per cent sure that 80-85 per cent of the lads would have stayed.

“We’d have had our core group together in the league above but the lads are ambitious as we all are and they want to kick on.”

Swifts ran out 3-1 winners over Halstead Town in their latest pre-season friendly, on Tuesday night.

Entry for this weekend’s friendly between Swifts and Maldon and Tiptree will cost £5 for adults, £3 concessions, with under-16s free for a match - kick-off is 3pm.