Manager Darren Schofield believes Stocksbridge Park Steels can still avoid relegation.
Steels go into tomorrow’s home game against Marine 11-points adrift of safety following a 3-1 defeat against fellow strugglers Stafford Rangers but Schofield said; “We’ve got to stay positive, nobody’s throwing in the towel. We had a good run last year when we won six in a row to get us out of trouble and we are more than capable of doing that again.”
Steels have taken just one point from five games since beating Matlock Town 3-1 in mid-December which has coincided with injuries to Matt Telling and wing-back Ben Turner, with Turner not expected back for another 10 days or so.
“Losing Ben has been a big blow because of the excellent form he was” said Schofield who was disappointed in the manner of the defeat at Stafford. “We got ourselves in front and looked like we would go on from there. But we conceded a sloppy goal, defended poorly and let them back in; everyone has to take responsibility for defending it’s not just down to the back four.”
Marine, who beat Steels 3-0 in the reverse fixture last October, have won only two of last nine in the league.
Sheffield FC boss Ian Whitehorne feels his side lack a little bit of know-how and leadership on the pitch after seeing them slip to mid-table in Division One South following a run of four defeats on the spin
Sheffield conceded twice in stoppage time against Market Drayton Town in the last outing turning what should had been a 2-1 victory into a 3-2 defeat and Whitehorne said; “We’ve got the ball in the corner and instead of keeping it there and running the clock down we gave it away and they score.
“We were a little naive at times. We’ve got some great players but we lack that leader on the pitch.
“That’s 12-points we’ve lost this season inside the last eight minutes of games, that’s the difference from where we find ourselves and the play-offs.”
Whitehorne wants to bring in a couple of players before tomorrow’s home game against Rainworth MW. “Results in December were awful. Performance wise though I’m not too worried, we just need to be mentally tougher. We are working on bringing in a couple of players just to freshen things up. Rob Poulter is suspended and Jamie Annerson unavailable, so a keeper is a priority.”
Promotion chasing Worksop Town host Trafford after losing the last two but they remain without leading scorer Leon Mettam.
Improving Frickley Athletic aim to make it just one defeat in the last 10 outings against Witton Albion. Victory for the Blues would see them pull eight points clear of the drop zone.
Matlock Town travel another of the relegation battlers Grantham Town, while Buxton face a tough looking trip to play-off chasing Kings Lynn Town.