MAY PEN, Clarendon — Humble Lion and Sporting Central Academy (SCA) are relishing the opportunity to open their Red Stripe Premier League campaigns with a Clarendon derby at Effortville Community Centre.
It is unusual for the sides to be meeting this early in the season, with their first match-up normally not coming until after the second or third game.
Both camps are, nonetheless, delighted to be kicking off the new Red Stripe Premier League season in front of their home supporters.
"Everybody is excited about the game," Sporting Central coach Nigel Stewart said. "Eeeing that it's our first game of the season we would like to start with a win."
"It should be a very good game to start the season and bring out both sets of fans," added Humble Lion coach Lenworth Hyde.
With neither side having any major injury concerns up to mid-week, both coaches should have a full complement to choose from.
For Humble Lion, new signings Shauntel Mundle, Richard Reid and Joel Messam could make their debuts, while for Sporting, the return of winger Levaughn Williams — who missed most of last season while reportedly on trial abroad — and the rejuvenated Keith Kelly should also be pleasing to the fans.
Based on previous results, the visiting Sporting team should start today's game as favourites. They have never lost a Premier League fixture against Humble Lion at Effortville and are looking to build on that record.
"I'm very happy that we haven't lost to them up there and I hope the trend will continue, but we're not going to get caught with the idea (of being favourites)," Stewart said.
"At the end of the day, if we don't go up there and perform as we should we could lose, so our main aim is to get three points."
Hyde, who is also aware of the stats, is keen to end Humble Lion's winless streak against their cross-town rivals at home.
"We haven't beaten Sporting Central (at Effortville) in the Premier League, so it would be good to break that (jinx)," Hyde said.
"Winning at home will be a good way to set the tone for the season (because) that is our main concern right now," he added. "That was our downfall last season; we weren't winning enough games at home, so this season we have to change that."