They are the only two clubs to be promoted through the SPFL pyramid play-offs.
They are also the only two clubs in the League 2 title race.
For Cove Rangers and Edinburgh City, ambition has been a huge driving factor in their rise from non-league football.
City were widely viewed as the title favourites this season, given they came third last season and strengthened their squad in the summer.
However Cove sent a huge message to them and the rest of the league on the opening day of the season. The 5-0 win at the Balmoral Stadium gave notice that Cove were not going to just tread water in League 2 this season.
Edinburgh gained a semblance of revenge in a 2-1 win in the capital in December, with the two sides meeting again in the Granite City this afternoon.
“It’s a great game for the division and a great game for Cove Rangers, considering where we are after 23 games,” Hartley said. “It’s the game of the day in the division. Everyone here is looking forward to it and I’m sure Edinburgh are the same.
“But nothing will be decided, no matter the outcome. We both want to go and win the game.”
Both Harry Milne and Mitch Megginson hit braces on that memorable opening day, with Jordon Brown capping off the day with the fifth.
The two sides have continually pushed each other on in the intervening weeks. Cove have held pole position for the majority of the campaign and at times, have looked like stretching away from Edinburgh.
But with the defeat to Elgin City last weekend and Edinburgh’s win over Annan Athletic, the gap at the top was shaved to three points ahead of this afternoon’s clash.
“We played really well on the first game of the season,” added Hartley. “We didn’t know how it was going to go. But it will be a different game now, that’s for sure.
“It’s two clubs that want to do well and climb the leagues. That’s why we are here – it’s the top two against each other. Nothing changes for us, how we’ve performed all season.”
Edinburgh will have to do something no other team has done this campaign, in taking points off Cove at the Balmoral Stadium. Even with victory, Cove’s goal-difference is such that they are unlikely to claim top spot.
Cove’s home record is as formidable as it is remarkable. They have won every league game on home soil, conceding just four goals in the process. Only Cowdenbeath and Stenhousemuir have found the net there.
Their away form, which is by no means alarming, has been where all their four defeats have come. Even more surprising is that 26 of their 30 goals conceded have come away from the Balmoral.
“We’ve played well as a unit. We’ve defended and attacked well, we’ve took our chances and our overall play has been impressive. The players have performed well at home,” said Hartley.
“The pitch definitely helps. Conditions the last two weeks have been difficult to play good football in.”
The only worry Hartley had prior to the game was captain Mitch Megginson, who suffered a calf injury in the warm-up to the Elgin City game last weekend.