DANNY Scopes says he believes his Concord side are favourites going into today’s island derby with Canvey.

The Beachboys have won their last three games against the Gulls and come into the game as the division’s in-form team.

“If I’m being honest I think we go into this game as the favourites,"

said Scopes.

“I don’t think that has been the case before and I think it shows how far we have come.

“Glen (Alzapiedi, the Canvey manager) has gone in there and done a good job and they are in a good position now.

“If you look at their run-in we are probably one of their harder games and they’ll be thinking if they can get a result against us they won’t be far off the play-offs.

“So I believe the pressure is on them because they have not beaten us in our last three games when their fans expect them to beat us.”

Concord drew 1-1 at Hastings on Saturday and start the game two points behind Canvey, who were beaten 3-2 at home by Wingate after having centre-back John Easterford sent off early in the game.

Both are still within striking distance of the play-offs, and Alzapiedi did not agree with Scopes' assessment that Concord had previously been the underdogs.

He said: “They’ve got some real quality in the squad. If you’ve got players of the quality of Harry Elmes, Tony Stokes, Karl Beckford and Steve King – players like that – then you can go into any Ryman Premier game and feel you can win.

“And they’ve had those players for the last two seasons so I don’t agree they have been underdogs.

“They are trying to create a little club syndrome which, considering the players they have got, is not a true reflection of how it is.”

Alzapiedi said that because he is not a native of the island, he views the fixture - dubbed the 'Battle of the Rock' by the fans - in a dispassionate way.

“I know some of the players at Concord and I get on well with Danny Cowley, so I don’t get wrapped up in the rivalry,” he said.

“I want to beat Concord Rangers because they are a team standing in the way of what we want to achieve, and not because of who they are.

“To me the local games with Billericay and East Thurrock are exactly the same. They are all just worth three points.”

A large crowd is expected at the Aspect Arena today for a game which kicks-off at 3pm.

* Echo sports reporter James Colasanti has agreed to wear at Bananaman costume at the game to raise money for Concord's chosen charity, the Indee Rose Trust.

He will be carrying a collection bucket, so please donate to the Canvey-based organisation which helps families of children diagnosed with a brain or spinal tumour.