Stocksbridge Park Steels go into tomorrow’s clash against Trafford at Bracken Moor already relegated barring a freak set of results with more than a month of the season remaining.
Witton Albion’s shock 3-1 win at promotion-chasing Skelmersdale United on Tuesday, meant Steels at best can only match the points tally of fifth bottom Marine and Witton, both of whom have far superior goal-differences.
Boss Darren Schofield insists there is still plenty to play for: “We have got a part to play in who goes down and who gets into the play-offs. It’s important that we go out and try to win as many points as possible and finish with a bit of pride.
“I can’t fault the attitude of the lads, it’s been first-class. We’ve perhaps been guilty of being a little naive. We have a lot of young players who will hopefully learn from the experience at this level and become better players.”
Schofield was honest in his assessment of the season: “We’ve not been able to keep the ball out of our net, that’s been the main problem. We’ve made mistakes but they have been honest mistakes. I take responsibility for that, we’ve brought the players in so if they’ve not been good enough then we have to hold our hands up.”
Stocksbridge will be without goalkeeper Jack Ward as he sits out the first of a two- match suspension, while leading scorer Nathan Joynes misses his fourth game of a five-match ban.
Sheffield FC take on Rainworth MW at Dronfield as they look for a first win in nine games with boss Ian Whitehorne refusing to use all the off-field publicity surrounding Club’s financial situation as an excuse for their run. He said: “Forget all this talk about money situations; yes, it has affected us, it has bound to have at some level, but it’s not an excuse.
“The problem we have is that we have such a small squad now, we can’t sign anyone, so we can’t change it, our hands are tied. But every one of those 11 players who started against Gresley and those that came on as substitutes would be in the squad on merit normally. It’s now up to them to put things right against Rainworth,”
Worksop Town could go top of the Premier Division with a win at relegation- threatened Stafford Rangers and if leaders Chorley lose at home against Nantwich Town.
The Tigers have boosted their title hopes with back- to- back wins against Marine and Trafford to put them to within two points of the leaders.
And Mark Shaw’s side will be confident of completing a league double over a Rangers side they beat 5-0 at Sandy Lane back in October.
Frickley Athletic go to King’s Lynn Town having slipped into the bottom four following relegation rivals Witton Albion’s win at Skelmersdale earlier in the week.
Karl Rose side will look to bounce back from a narrow 2-1 defeat at Nantwich in the last outing that ending a run of three wins on the bounce, while the Linnets look to have blown their play-off hopes after winning just two of the last six, which sees them 13-points outside the top five.
Matlock Town go to lowly Barwell looking to avoid a third defeat in eight days after setbacks against Stafford Rangers at home and Stamford away 2-0 and 1-0 respectively looked to have ended the Gladiators play-off hopes.
Buxton will aim for a third win on the trot against Grantham Town at the Silverlands. The Bucks have eased their relegation fears following victories against Kings Lynn Town then 2-0 at Ilkeston FC in the last outing.