HARWICH and Parkeston boss Kieron Shelley believes his side's mouth-watering derby against neighbours Little Oakley is going to be "more special then ever".

The old foes are set to lock horns in a Thurlow Nunn League first division south showdown at the Royal Oak on Easter Monday (kick-off 3pm).

Another bumper crowd is expected, along the lines of the 580 that turned out for the first meeting between the sides - which Harwich won 2-0 - at the Memorial Ground on Boxing Day.

Shelley is relishing the prospect and said: "We're all looking forward to it.

"Oakley are flying and it's been an amazing turnaround in the last few weeks.

"They're on track to be a team to really fear and worry about in this division.

"I've seen them a couple of times recently and enjoy watching them.

"(Acorns boss) Matt (Carmichael) has got a great blend of young, energetic players mixed with older heads.

"They're very well-run and it's the kind of set-up we aspire to, as a club coming back from the doldrums.

"Matt described Oakley as the underdogs when we went there at Christmas.

"Perhaps rightly so, because we were on an amazing winning run and very hard to beat at that time.

"But now it feels the tables have turned and, given the form they've been in, maybe we're the underdogs."

Fifth-placed Harwich kick-off their Easter weekend with a trip to Benfleet on Saturday and will be keen to build on last weekend's 4-1 victory at home to Lopes Tavares.

Jordan Heath plundered a hat-trick for the Shrimpers.

"We've still got loads to play for," added Shelley.

"We want to finish as high as possible and want to nail down fourth spot.

"As ever in these derbies, people will talk about bragging rights.

"However, I think it's about even more than that this time.

"It's about two form sides going head-to-head and it feels more special than ever.

"These games mean so much to the Harwich public.

"It's a community that takes its football very seriously and people put a lot of time and effort in to watch both ourselves and Oakley.

"I know what a fantastic side they are and they're a very different team to the one we played on Boxing Day.

"We went there and won in their backyard and they'll be desperate to do the same to us and set the record straight on Monday."

After their matches against Benfleet and Oakley, Harwich bring the curtain down on their season with a home fixture against Burnham Ramblers on April 27.