Inverurie Locos boss Neil Cooper says his team have to defend better when they return to North Lodge Park tomorrow.
The Railwaymen face local rivals Formartine United after being beaten 5-2 at Pitmedden on November 17 in the Highland League Cup.
Locos had led 2-0 that day before United’s comeback and, after clean sheets in their last three games, Cooper wants to see a better showing at the back than in their last clash with Formartine.
He said: “You can learn from every game by taking responsibility and not making mistakes at vital times.
“We got ourselves into a 2-0 lead and then a minute before half-time we didn’t close down a cross and they scored.
“That’s one defensive thing you need to do where you stop crosses coming into the box.
“Then once they come into the box you’ve got to defend the cross and that goal gave Formartine a big lift, going in 2-1 down at half-time.
“Then they got a couple of quick goals after half-time and our boys didn’t handle it very well.
“We go there tomorrow and we’ve got to show we are a lot more solid defensively than we were that day.
“Any manager will tell you that defensively that you need to work as a unit.
“You can’t do things individually and think it will work in your favour.
“Against the top teams, if you are together and work collectively as a unit then you can win games against the top teams.”
For fifth-placed United, tomorrow’s game gives them a chance to move a point above Inverurie in third.
Formartine also have three games in hand as they look to record a fourth victory this season against Locos.
North Lodge Park player-manager Paul Lawson is hoping for a win to claim the derby spoils.
He said: “It’s an opportunity for us and likewise Locos will be looking to stretch their lead on us.
“We do have games in hand but you would rather have the points on the board.
“The game is about what we do, we respect our opponents and look at the threat they pose.
“You can take confidence from the last game because it shows we can create chances and score goals.
“But the two goals we lost in that game were disappointing from our point of view and we need to make sure that doesn’t happen.
“The 1-0 win earlier in the season was very tight, but when we won 4-2 earlier in the season we played very well.
“We know if we perform well we can get the results, but they have threats we will have to overcome.
“We know it’s going to be a tough game, but you want to win the derby game and for us it’s about getting the three points and for the supporters it’s about bragging rights, so hopefully we can win.”