FORMER Accrington Stanley favourite Rory Prendergast could upset the Reds' Christmas when he turns out for loan club Halifax Town on Boxing Day.
The left winger, who scored 11 times in 70 Conference appearances for Stanley, left the Interlink in the summer and joined Coca Cola League One side Blackpool for a believed five figure fee.
His appearances there have been limited and, with the departure of manager Colin Hendry, Prendergast decided to opt for a one month loan spell at Conference play-off contenders Halifax which ends on December 31.
And he comes up against his former club in what promises to be an entertaining Roses fixture with Stanley topping the table by four points and Halifax, in fifth place, who haven't lost at home yet this season.
"I am looking forward to it," said Prendergast. "I have been over the moon for everyone at Stanley with what they have done this season. I am chuffed that they are doing so well. I made a lot of friends there and had three good seasons there and didn't leave on a bad note.
"I enjoyed my time at Blackpool under Colin as, although I was on the bench a lot of the time, I was still involved. I was surprised how little difference in standard there is between the bottom of League One and top of the Conference - there isn't a lot. But when managers change you never know what will happen and, under Paul Grayson, I wasn't getting a game. Halifax came in for me and I wanted regular football. Chris Wilder has said he was chasing me for some time.
"I played the early games but then injured my knee at Crawley but I am back now and am keen to do well.
"I play for Halifax now and, for all my Accrington memories, I have got to do a job for them. It will be strange though.
"I don't know what will happen on the 31 December so I am not sure if I will play in the return fixture at Accrington on January 2. But I hope I get a good reception - if I get booed on Boxing Day I won't want to still be at Halifax when the play at Accrington!"
Prendergast, 26, admitted the Stanley side has changed a lot in the short time since he left.
"Paul Mullin, Steve Jagielka and Robbie Williams are the only ones who played regularly when I was there who are playing regularly now. Gary Roberts was there for a while and he seems to have done well, and David Brown and Anthony Barry, but it has changed a lot."
And he is anticipating a good battle between the Roses sides.
"I remember when I played for Accrington last year there was little to split the two sides. We won at their place but we rode our luck and we needed a late goal at the Interlink to draw. I haven't seen Accrington this season but I expect Chris Wilder will be asking me a few things about them!"
Reds boss John Coleman will be hoping Steve Jagielka is fit after he hobbled off with a knee injury in the 2-0 win over Altrincham in the FA Trophy on Saturday. And he expects a lively game as Stanley look for their seventh consecutive league win.
"We are there to be shot at at the top of the table and every game we play between now and the end of the season is a cup final," said Coleman.
And Town boss Chris Wilder backed this up: "Accrington have done fantastically to get themselves in a great position. But they have got a different kind of pressure now - they have got to try and stay there. If they do that, they will be deserved winners. But there is a hell of a long way to go."
The Reds chief isn't sure what will happen when the transfer window opens on January 1. "We are in a catch 22 situation. We are doing so well we want to strengthen from the top. But, if we bring in players we don't want them to be stocking fillers but top quality players and you do not want to bring them in and sit them on the bench. It is hard to do that especially when you pay them top money."
- MIKE Flynn has started another month on loan at Hyde United.