Non-League Football: Local derby Christmas clash

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A South Yorkshire derby between two clubs fighting relegation is the local highlight of the Boxing Day programme in the Evo-Stik League.

Stocksbridge Park Steels face Frickley Athletic at the Look Local Stadium (3pm) today. Whilst both clubs need points, Steels plight is starting to look worrying.

They go into the game third bottom in the Premier Division. Four go down and Darren Schofield’s side are on 19 points, six points behind the side fifth bottom.

Frickley - who haven’t won away so far this season - are currently sixth bottom and they are eight points above Stocksbridge.

It means Stocksbridge desperately need a win to start clawing something back on those above. Should Frickley pull off that first away win then the gap between the two would be up to 11 points and for any side struggling near the bottom, pulling back such a deficit is a very tall order indeed.

With a tough home game against second-placed Chorley on Saturday and a long trip to Blyth Spartans on New Year’s Day, some points return is needed by Steels - starting this afternoon - or the dangers of falling ever further behind are clear.

Steels hope to have Alex Callery available after a two months out. Winger Chris Ovington remains banned.

Worksop Town will look to stretch their ten game unbeaten run when they entertain Ilkeston today (3pm).

Worksop are third on 47 points from 24 games, the same as Chorley who have played three games fewer. Leaders Skelmersdale are on 51 from 24.

In Division One South, Sheffield FC go to Belper who occupy the final play-off place and are six points ahead of them so Ian Whitehorne’s side certainly can’t afford a defeat.

There are no NCEL games today but, with Evo-Stik, have a full list on Saturday.

n Boxing Day fixtures round-up in Friday’s Star