Stocksbridge Park Steels boss Chris Hilton says his team are paying for a lack of match fitness ahead of this weekend’s trip to Loughborough Dynamo.
Steels have lost the last four on the spin following the 4-1 defeat against the Division One South leaders Mickleover Sports when Steels conceded three late goals for the second game in a row.
“The six week lay-off we had is really hurting us now,” said Hilton. “We’d had one defeat in five before Christmas and were beginning to build momentum. You can train as much as you like but when you’ve missed so many games it takes time to get back to full match fitness and that’s telling in the last 20 minutes of games. The lads work hard but we’re getting punished for every mistake, it’s very frustrating.
Hilton said there were positives to come out of the defeat against Mickleover. “We could have had two or three goals in the first half. For an hour you couldn’t tell the difference between the teams against what I consider to be one of the best in the division. Danny Critchlow got his first goal for the club and he will push on now and score more. We need Brad Grayson to start scoring again he’s missed a couple of good chances in recent games and needs a goal to boost his confidence.”
Stocksbridge are fourth from bottom, five points clear of the drop zone with Hilton saying; “We need to go there (Loughborough) and get a result.” Midfielder Paul Haigh is unavailable, while Lee Thompson is out with a broken hand. But central defender Brandon Cardwell should be recalled after being rested in midweek.
Sheffield FC boss Jordan Broadbent says there is a real belief in the camp that the corner has been turned ahead of their trip to Coalville Town.“We’ve lost one in the last five and performance; we’re in really good shape now,” said Broadbent. “The players feel we have turned the corner, and that’s showing in the performances. They believe in the style we want them to play, we’re all singing from the same hymn sheet. We’ve been able to name the same back four in the recent games which is a big help and our goalkeeper Jake Eastwood has been in great form.”
Broadbent admits it will a tough game against rejuvenated Coalville. The Leicestershire outfit have been beaten just twice in 11 outings since the turn of the year. “Tom Brookbanks is a top manager, said the Club boss. “He’s done a great job since taking over, taking them from the bottom end of the table into the top half.”
Reece White is expected to return to the squad after missing the trip to Stafford will illness but striker Ashley Longstaff is rated doubtful after being involved in a car accident last week.
Frickley Athletic face a six-pointer against Nantwich Town at Westfield Lane.
Both sides go into the game on 38 points, one clear of the drop zone
Buxton take on play-off rivals Ashton Town at the Silverlands in a game the Bucks cannot afford to lose after slipping to seventh, while Matlock Town will be chasing a seventh straight win in all competitions at Rushall Olympic.
Premier Division: Buxton v Ashton United, Frickley Athletic v Nantwich Town, Rushall Olympic v Matlock Town.
Division One South: Coalville Town v Sheffield FC, Loughborough Dynamo v Stocksbridge Park Steels.