BARNSLEY FC are not at home this Boxing Day but football fans from the town can attend a local derby between hosts Athersley Rec and Wombwell Town from midday.

The two clubs have had contrasting fortunes in the first half of the campaign.

Town are fifth with 42 points from 21 games – 11 points off the only automatic promotion place, with two games in hand on the leaders, and one clear in the play-off spots.

Rec are 19th with 19 points from 22 games, ten points and two places clear of the relegation zone.

Athersley manager Paul Clarkson said: “It should be a massive crowd and a big day.

“I am expecting more of a fight than a footballing spectacle with the way Wombwell play. The occasion is that big it will be more of a scrap. It would be huge for us if we could win.

“We’ve got two massive games with Parkgate away first.

“There are two of the hardest games we could have had but we will go into them with confidence.”

The Barnsley clubs have met twice already this season, both in Wombwell, with Town winning 4-1 in the league in September then 3-2 in the League Cup last month.

There is another Barnsley derby due on December 30 as Town host Worsbrough Bridge.

Wombwell host Brigg Town on Saturday while Rec are due to visit high-flying Parkgate.

Town boss Karl Rose said: “We have Brigg at home first and hopefully we can get a home game on for the first time in a while.

“We’re really looking forward to both derbies. Rec and Bridge are both good clubs who have changed managers and started picking up good results.

“It’s good to be going a few miles up the road instead of a long trip at Christmas.

“These kind of games are why we wanted to get up to this level.

“It’s great for non-league football in Barnsley.

“Form goes out of the window in a derby but Rec are probably on better form than us anyway.”

Town have not played since November 28.

Their game at Clay Cross Town on Saturday was called off.

They have slipped off top spot after a run of one win in seven league games.

Rose said: “It has been weird. We’ve gone from playing lots to not at all.

“We have had games called off for four weekends in a row.

“It’s very frustrating but it has helped us in one way because we have had a horrendous injury list which I have never known before.

“We have had eight or nine starters missing. It’s coincided with playing some of the best teams in the division.

“We’ve fallen back into the pack but we would have ripped your arm off at start of season for this position.

“It’s a busy Christmas period and we want to get back on a good run.

“The aim was mid-table at the start of the season but we’re setting our sights higher now, on the play-offs.

“It’s been a great year for the club and I am grateful to all our volunteers and players.”

Athersley won 3-0 at home to bottom club Ollerton Town on Saturday.

Callum Clark opened the scoring on 69 minutes then Khalid Suleiman and Oliver McQuillin struck in the last ten.

Clarkson said: “It’s a big result and much-needed.

“We controlled the game, but didn’t show enough quality in the first half and I rattled a few cages at half-time then we played really well and got the goals we deserved.

“Our goalkeeper Ellis Pickard made a massive save at 0-0.

“Those are the games we should be winning and we have a nice gap between us and bottom three now.”

Worsbrough Bridge did not play this week but are due to visit Shirebook Town on Saturday then host Parkgate on Boxing Day for a 1pm kick-off. .

The Briggers are 16th, with 30 points from 23 games.