TWO best pals will come face-to-face on the touchline tomorrow, as they give an added meaning to the term friendly.
A Millwall youth side travel to Billericay Town tomorrow in their latest pre-season run-out, but Alex Fiddes, Billericay’s assistant manager, and Neil Harris, Millwall’s under-21 coach, will be looking for the win that gives them more than that winning feeling, but the friendship bragging rights.
The two childhood friends grew up together, having played together in the Great Wakering Rovers youth team and have stayed in touch ever since.
Harris, 37, has enjoyed a glittering career, playing 392 times for the Lions and 52 times for Southend United in a 16-year spell as a player, before moving into management having retired from the game last summer.
Fiddes has also remained in the game, playing for Concord Rangers and AFC Hornchurch, as well as playing under first-team Billericay manager Craig Edwards at Grays Athletic, Fords (now Redbridge), Dulwich Hamlet and Leyton.
“We are really good friends and have been for 20 years. It will be strange coming up against him but I can’t wait for the match,” Fiddes said.
“Since Neil took over the under-21s I have been in contact with him about how it is all going and, when I became assistant manager at the start of this season, I told him Craig would be interested in a match.
“I told him we would give their young players a good run-out and he agreed it would work for both parties.”
Fiddes said he spoke to Harris after Billericay’s pre-season clash with Southend earlier in the month, which the ex-Blues man attended.
And Fiddes believes a number of established Championship stars could feature at New Lodge on Saturday – including captain Paul Robinson and ex-Premier League defender Danny Shittu.
“I think they will mix some experience with the youth players. Neil was impressed with how we came back against Southend (the second half was goalless) and will want to win. We will do all we can to make sure we are the winning side.”
The game kicks off at 11am.
l Other clubs are in pre-season action this weekend.
Canvey Island will play two games in two days – firstly taking on a Gillingham XI tonight at 7.30pm at the Prospects Stadium. Tomorrow, Canvey travel to neighbours Concord Rangers for a charity match, with all funds raised going towards the Indee Rose Trust and The Danny Green Fund.
East Thurrock United are travelling to a pre-season tournament at Millfield, which features co-hosts Grays Athletic and Aveley, with Romford the other sides competing. Rocks will play Aveley at 1pm on Saturday and Romford at 1pm on Sunday.
Basildon United take on Tilbury at the TLM Stadium at 3pm while Rob Small takes his Bowers & Pitsea side to Frenford Senior.