CONFERENCE South duo Hayes and Yeading have joined forces and announced they are to merge.

The traditional rivals have decided to pool their resources in the hope of forming one super club which will be able to challenge in the newly-named Blues Square South Conference next season.

They hope that by teaming up they will be able to develop a club capable of winning promotion to the Football league.

Former Hayes chairman Derek Goodall said: "It is well known that for years our clubs have struggled to attract the big gates needed to survive at this level. By combining efforts, know-how and strategy we can secure the future of high-level football in the area and provide facilities that the local community need and desire."

Phillip Spurden, the former chairman of Yeading said: "On the field both sides have been punching far above their weight for many years, but to build on that and take the next step we need to match that off the field as a business, in the stadium, surroundings and amenities. This merger not only secures the future of the football clubs but also guarantees that the future fans, players and staff of the club will be on a more even footing with rivals at this and the higher levels of the pyramid to which we aspire."

The merger of the two clubs and acceptance of only one space in the Blue Square South for next season has been agreed by the Football Conference League but is subject to ratification by The Football Association.

On the field, the newly-named Hayes and Yeading FC will be led by Garry Haylock who has been handed the manager's role at the new club having been appointed Yeading boss in December 2006.

The former Huddersfield Town professional: "It was a great honour to manage Yeading last season and an even bigger honour to be chosen to lead the new club into what are very exciting times.

"Obviously, I already know the players and staff of Yeading but I am also very aware of the talents that Hayes will add to that.

"I am also looking to bring in other players with experience at the highest levels to ensure that Hayes and Yeading FC are pushing for honours from the start of next season."

Haylock will be joined by his former backroom staff, with Colin Davis taking charge of the Reserve set-up, a role he previously held with Hayes.

The new club will play their matches at Hayes' Church Road stadium while Yeading's ground will continue to provide social facilities, a training base and play host to reserve and youth team games.

Football Conference Operations Director John Moules said: "I welcome the fact that two nearest neighbours are joining forces to strengthen their position and that of Middlesex football to take both clubs forward for the benefit of fans and the local area."

The move has also received the backing of Labour MP John McDonnell.

He said: "I wholeheartedly welcome this initiative which will not only give us a strong footballing base within the area but also provide an invaluable sporting resource for the whole community."

Former Yeading boss Johnson Hippolyte admitted he was stunned by the move but believes it could be a winner if the fans can forget their differences.

He said: "I understand where they are coming from. It's two clubs where the fan base isn't the best and it is a hard league to survive in.

"These two clubs were enemies when I was there vying for the title of the best club in the area and I think if the supporters can forget this in the long run joining together could be the best way forward. If they can form one club with all the right facilities it might be the best way forward."