DEAN Jones said Lostock Gralam wanted to face Middlewich Town in a final to test themselves against opponents at a level they want to reach.

The Grey Lambs attempt to retain the Mid-Cheshire District FA Saturday Challenge Cup when the teams meet at Middlewich Town on Tuesday, May 14.

Last Saturday's first attempt to play the decider, on that occasion at Barnton's Townfield home, fell victim to the weather.

“It adds something extra to play them,” the co-manager told the Guardian.

“These games have always been competitive and close, but the winner of this derby gets a trophy too.”

And his side don’t want to let go of this one.

Their primary objective this season remains to be promoted, preferably as champions, to the Cheshire League’s Premier Division.

They are on course to do that, and occupy top spot in League One with a four-point lead over Broadheath Central.

However that doesn’t make them any less determined to beat neighbours against whom Jones and fellow boss Dom Johnson have never lost since taking over at Park Stadium.

“It’s been a strange build-up for us after winning the semi-final last month,” said Jones.

“We’ve had to pretty much block out any thoughts of this game because we had a job to do in the league.

“It means the final has crept up on us in some ways.

“We want to keep hold of the trophy though because this competition has given us such fond memories already and we associate a good feeling to it after our success last year.”

Asked if there was a favourite, he smiled.

Town may be the higher-ranked side, but they will be conscious of their struggles to beat Lostock in the past two seasons.

Jones said: “You can make a case either way.

“We’ve got enough ability and know-how in our team to win, something that is backed up by our record against them.

“That said, those games have all been tight.

“What we have learned from those previous meetings, and other big one-off games, is that having the right temperament is the key to doing well in them.”

This Lostock side has proven as much.

They have done a double over Broadheath this season and landed a blow on another rival for promotion a fortnight ago when they beat Blacon.

According to Jones, a 2-0 win that afternoon was secured by probably their most impressive display of the campaign.

He added: “It’s a handy knack to have if you can save your big performances for the important games.”

Kick-off is 7pm and a result will be achieved by penalty shoot-out if the sides are level at full-time.