Non-league: Hilton out to end Sheffield hoodoo in derby

Scott Ruthven: should be fit for the Boxing Day derby with Sheffield. Photo: Ian Anderson

Scott Ruthven: should be fit for the Boxing Day derby with Sheffield. Photo: Ian Anderson

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Stocksbridge Park Steels boss Chris Hilton is hoping for a belated Christmas present this afternoon – his first ever three points against Sheffield FC.

Boxing Day delivers one of the most eagerly anticipated fixtures on the local non-league calendar when Steels host Club at Bracken Moor (3pm).

And Hilton is hoping to end his personal management hoodoo against Sheffield.

“I’ve not beaten Sheffield since being in management,” he said. “We lost narrowly at their place on Boxing Day last season then drew in the return fixture.

“The when I was at Worsbrough, they knocked us out of the Senior Cup on penalties so it’d be nice to put one over on them.

“We feel we can beat anyone when we put our form together.

“We’ve shown that with the cup run we’ve had, beating some very good teams.

“The players are working very hard at the moment and the spirit in the camp is good.

“But in these games form goes out of the window.

“It’s a derby and both sets of players will want to win it. Sometimes it’s about that little bit of luck that goes your way.

“These are the sort of games you look forward to and want to be involved in.

“If you can’t lift yourself for games like this then you shouldn’t be in football.”

Hilton is confident his team can come away with the three points, though admits it will be a tough ask.

“It will be hard,” he said. “Although results have not gone for them lately, they’ve got a decent squad.

“We know a lot of their players well. We’ll go in with a gameplan that will hopefully see us come out on top.”

Stocksbridge go into the game after a 2-1 defeat against second placed Coalville Town, their first loss in five. Hilton thought his side deserved a draw.

Strikers Scott Ruthven (hamstring) and Joe Lumsden (illness) are both expected to be fit for Saturday.

But if both are absent, Hilton could hand a re-debut to youngster Brodie Litchfield who has returned to Steels on loan from Sheffield United having left Bracken Moor from Bramall Lane in the summer.

Sheffield go into the derby having one once in their last ten league matches but their decent away record of four wins and two draws from ten trips will give them confidence of taken something from Bracken Moor.

Club boss Andy Kiwomya shares his opposite number’s thoughts on clash.

“It’s a game everyone is up for and gets excited about,” Kiwomya said. “You want to come out of it with the bragging rights.

“We’ll be going there to try and win the game and give a good account of ourselves.

“We want to be up there at the end of the season and so do Stocksbridge so it should be an entertaining game.

“It’s my first taste of a non-league Sheffield derby as it is for a number of the players.

“But we’ll make sure they know what it means to the club, the supports and non-league football in Sheffield.”

Sheffield lead Steels by two points and two places in Evo-Stik Division One South but Stocksbridge have five games in hand.

Shaw Lane Aquaforce head to Belper Town after their last two fixtures were postponed.

Although they remain third in the table, the gap between the Ducks and leaders Stafford Rangers now stands at 18 points.

Fixtures

Premier Division: Frickley Athletic v Grantham Town; Matlock Town v Buxton.

Division One South: Belper Town v Shaw Lane Aquaforce; Stocksbridge Park Steels v Sheffield FC.

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