ONE of the highlights of the festive sporting calendar sees Rhyl welcome Prestatyn Town for a pivotal Boxing Day clash in the Huws Gray Alliance.

The Lilywhites have been in ruthless mood of late to seal a nine-game winning run in all competitions, and they go in search of a tenth straight against the improving Seasiders.

A large crowd is expected at the Educate Resource Stadium for the coastal derby, with plenty at stake for both sides as they look to go build some momentum heading into the second half of the campaign.

Much was expected of Eddie Maurice-Jones’ side at the start of the season, but things did not go according to plan early on before a stunning turnaround in fortunes now has them sitting in fifth spot and 17 points behind runaway leaders Airbus Broughton with a game in hand.

Their recent success is down in no small part to the management team finally getting the balance right, with the back three of Reece Fairhurst, Ben Nash and skipper Max Peate producing a series of dominant displays to compliment their outstanding attacking prowess in the form of James Murphy, Kristian Pierce, Aaron Hassall and Mike Pritchard.

They face a stern test of their credentials against Town, who have shown signs of life in recent weeks following the ownership change behind the scenes and the return of legendary manager Neil Gibson.

The struggling side finally moved out of the drop zone following their resounding victory over Guilsfield in their last outing, which was their second successive league win to give them plenty of confidence heading into the derby.

In Ian Griffiths they possess one of the most natural finishers anywhere in the division, and his chemistry with forward allies Ben Maher and Oliver Buckley has played a hugely significant part on their improved performances and results.

Club legend Dave Hayes comes back into the fold following suspension, which is another boost for the Seasiders, with Maurice-Jones also likely to call on a formidable squad that are at the very top of their game.

Their contest at the Motion Finance Stadium earlier on in the season was a hotly contested affair which ended 1-1.