Preview: Battery return home to face old rivals

When the match kicks off at 7:30 on Saturday evening, the Charleston Battery and Wilmington Hammerheads will renew a rivalry that’s stretched back for many years, and spawned a fans’ trophy to up the ante. One team has been touting many changes on and off the pitch, whilst the other hopes that the stability in the off-season will continue the road they’ve been on for the past few seasons.

This match is the first of the season that will determine the Southern Derby Cup, the aforementioned fans’ trophy that began in 2001 and is contested today between the Battery, the Charlotte Independence, and the Hammerheads.

Date

Home

Away

Sat April 9

Charleston

Wilmington

Sat April 16

Charlotte

Charleston

Wed May 11

Wilmington

Charlotte

Sat Aug 13

Charlotte

Wilmington

Sat Aug 20

Wilmington

Charleston

Sat Aug 27

Charleston

Charlotte

Going in, both teams have the same record, at 1-0-1. Wilmington won their first match against Orlando City B, whilst the Battery took three points from Cincinnati in their first test of the year. Both teams then drew in the second week, both 0-0, against Richmond and Orlando respectively.

The Battery will have both Quinton Griffith and Naveal Hackshaw in their ranks this time out, who missed the first game against Cincinnati on national team duty. Giffith featured against Orlando last week, but Hackshaw had to be content with a role on the bench, but would come on late in the game.

Battery ‘keeper Kevin Corby has a foot problem and is likely to be unfit to play in this match, while Ricky Garbanzo is also a doubt through a leg injury. However, Emmanuel Adjetey, who missed the first two matches due to a foot injury, should be ready for contention in this one.

For Wilmington, they finished last year with the worst record in the USL, and so change was afoot. Assistant Mark Briggs took the reigns from Carson Porter at the end of the year, and has brought with him a mixture of youth and experience with him.

There are a couple names that may stand out to readers, with one being Liam Miller, an Irishman once touted as one of the “next big things” in Europe, having spent time with Celtic, Manchester United, Sunderland, and QPR, now being a leader and driving force in the midfield three of the Hammerheads.

Center back Ashani Fairclough has also given the Battery problems at times, as has Tom Parratt, who has played at Right back and is capable in the middle.,

The Battery held a three win and one draw record against Wilmington last year, but don’t expect the same to be the case for this. The Hammerheads have been touting their much-changed team for some time now and would love to get one over on their rivals.

And so, as we gear up for another rival clash, both teams will think they have all the tools. But who will come out on top after the final whistle?

 

 

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