Boston United defender Tom Ward has told Gainsborough Trinity striker Mark Jones that their friendship will go out of the window when the two Lincolnshire rivals do battle on Saturday.
Jones switched York Street for the Northolme less than a fortnight ago, after the Blues made what Pilgrims boss Graham Drury described as an ‘unbelievable offer’.
But now he is set to do battle against his old teammates, as the two Yellowbelly foes meet up in Blue Square Bet North action (KO 3pm).
Ward could well be marking his pal when the two sides meet this week.
And he has promised Jones a day to forget.
“We all know that what happens on the pitch stays on the pitch,” Ward warned.
“Nothing that happens in a game is personal.
“But I won’t be doing him any favours.
“I want to get the three points.”
Jones has a fantastic goalscoring record since his summer move to Boston, netting 14 times in 21 starts and eight substitute appearances for United.
But Ward believes that will only spur him on.
He added: “I was one of those who was really grateful when he came here, because I know what a good player he is.
“I’m looking forward to playing against him.
“He’s a good player, but I love playing against the better players.
“It makes me raise my game.”
However, despite their rivalry on the pitch, and also for the play-off spots, United’s young defender admits that the Boston squad all wish Jones well.
“He has his reasons for going,” Ward continued.
“We’re disappointed he’s not staying with us, but we all hope he does well... just not against us.
“He’s a great lad.
“In his line of work, he’s not working at the minute.
“So when you’re offered big-money deals it’s hard to say no.”
Jones is not the first player that Trinity have prised away from Boston in recent years.
In the summer of 2011, both Jamie Yates and Shane Clarke opted to join Gainsborough, despite being offered contracts with the Pilgrims.
Trinity defender Dominic Roma also spent a spell on loan with Boston when on the books of Sheffield United.
But United also have former Gainsborough players on their books.
Marc Newsham and Ian Ross have both pulled on Trinity shirts during their careers.
Ironically, it was those two Boston players who scored to earn Boston a 2-1 league victory over Gainsborough at York Street in early November.
Ross curled home a neat free kick to put Boston ahead before Clarke’s superb header pulled Trinity level before the break.
However, Newsham earned Boston all three points from the penalty spot, after Jones had been fouled by Luke Waterfall.
United new boy Paul Mayo has also been on Trinity’s books.