Manchester City coach — and former Burnley and Blackburn Rovers midfielder — predicts the outcome of the East Lancashire derby
Former Burnley and Blackburn Rovers midfielder is predicting a home win when Turf Moor plays host to Sunday's eagerly-anticipated East Lancashire derby.
The former Republic of Ireland international, who had success with both clubs during his playing career, has plumped for a 2-0 win for Vincent Kompany's Clarets, which would consolidate top spot ahead of the World Cup break.
The 44-year-old, who is Gareth Taylor's number two at Manchester City Women, expects the hosts to edge it having lost just once in 17 games, even though the visitors have won five of their last six Championship games.
"It's a big one," he said. "It's fantastic for the area, such a prestigious game going on at the weekend. It's really exciting at the top.
"I just think it's going to be a very close game and it's one of the games of the weekend. It's fantastic, but I'd have to say Burnley.
"I know Burnley lost their last game, but over the last five games they've only lost one each. The football that both have been playing has been fantastic. It's exciting for me as a fan of both to watch the rivalry happen this year."
If Cardiff City claim victory against Sheffield United in South Wales beforehand, the first league meeting between the two rivals in six-and-a-half years would be first versus second.
There's plenty on the line but, regardless of the result, Mahon doesn't see any reason why both sides won't be pushing for Premier League football at the end of the season.
Asked if promotion was a realistic aim for both clubs, during a conversation with Fix Radio host Andy Hodgson on the popular Friday Sports Kick off segment, he said: "Yes, 100%. In the Championship you always get twists and turns, I've been in many battles for promotion to the Premier League.
"Just look at the form; Blackburn might be happy sitting there in the background just waiting. They'll definitely be happy in second place. With the position they're in now there's nothing stopping either team from going up."
The Dublin-born coach became a part of the City coaching team in 2014, the season after Kompany had captained the Citizens to their second Premier League title when pipping Liverpool by a couple of points.
He's been impressed with the Belgian's success since switching from Anderlecht in the summer, smoothing the transition after 13 players departed and 16 players were recruited.
Mahon, though, has been equally fascinated by Jon Dahl Tomasson's impact at Ewood Park with his side currently owning the most wins in the division.
"It goes to show that he [Kompany] has obviously got a plan and he's confident with it. He's stuck to it and it's come off. To follow Sean [Dyche] is a massive task, but the club has given him the reins and they've told him to go with it and it's paid dividends.
"I think they've all been brilliant, I think every one of them has put in a shift for them. I don't want to single anyone out, I think they've all done really well.
"I think some players go unnoticed and that's better for them. I think if you look at Blackburn they're not the household names, but they've got good players, who are playing for their manager at the moment. That's a good thing.
"The camaraderie in both camps has been brilliant, the culture and the togetherness has been fantastic. It's been a different class and that plays a massive role, regardless of the names."
Mahon wasn't aware of the intensity of the conflict at first, until he experienced the ferocity of that first meeting in 17-and-a-half years in December 2000, which saw Kevin Ball red-carded.
The Irishman, who moved to Rovers from Sporting CP, lifted the League Cup under Graeme Souness in 2001/02, and went on to help Owen Coyle's Burnley win promotion to the top flight via the play-offs in 2009.
"At one stage I was supposed to be going to Burnley straight from Blackburn and at the time I didn't realise the intensity of the rivalry between the two of them," he said.
"I obviously went off to Wigan. Blackburn had given me a lifeline from Sporting Lisbon, where I wasn't playing, and I had a fantastic time there, we had some really good success.
"The area is blessed with two sets of fans that are very passionate about their clubs. So going to Burnley, having success there and getting promoted to the Premier League was fantastic.
"I wasn't aware of the noise that surrounded the two teams and they both deserve, with the history of the clubs, to be in the Premier League. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at both clubs."