Stocksbridge hope to carry on cup form to climb league: Sheffield FC bid for 13th game unbeaten
Stocksbridge Park Steels boss Chris Hilton wants to use the FA Trophy run as a springboard to climb back up the table.
Steelers, who prepare to take on Northwich Victoria at Bracken Moor tomorrowe, reached the first round for the second successive season before going out 3-1 at National League North side Nuneaton Town.
“We told the players afterwards they should feel disappointed to have gone out, “ said Hilton. “But also that they need to be proud of what they have achieved. Its two years in a row we’ve got to the first round knocking out some good teams from higher leagues showing that we’re capable of beating anyone.
“We need to take that into the league, push on and build some momentum. We’ve fallen behind with our league games and slipped down the table a little.
“Its a busy period for us between now and the end of the festive period with six games. We’ll aim to win all six if we can or at least make sure we’re unbeaten and get back heading towards the play-off. It wont be easy but we have now have a bigger and better squad than last season.”
Northwich, who appointed an administrator on December 1, arrive having parted company manager Adam Lakeland who resigned earlier in the week due to the present constraints placed on the club.
Hilton is boosted by the return of leading scorer Joe Lumsden from suspension and fellow striker Brodie Litchfield who is available again after being cup tied.
Sheffield FC will be hoping it wont be unlucky 13 this weekend when they travel to Stamford on the back of an unbeaten 12 match run.
Its a run that has catapulted Club from the lower reaches of the table up to fourth in Division One South.
“Its been an unbelievable change of fortunes if you consider were we were not so long ago,” said boss James Colliver. “Its been done with hard work and belief in what were doing.”
Despite the excellent run Colliver has been left a little frustrated by some negative comments.
“People say we have made hard work of some games, “ he said. “But there are no easy games in this division. Gresley for instance are one of the best teams we’ve played, they had pace and creativity but we’ve worked hard and got the three points.”
Colliver has made a double swoop signing goalkeeper Danny Haystead from Belper and defender Danny South from Ossett Albion.
“They both have vast experience and will strengthen the spine of the team,” said Colliver.
Haystead could make his debut at Stamford but South is unavailable until next weekend due to suspension.
Stamford have lost the last three league outings but earned a 1-1 draw at the Coach & Horses ground in September when Sheffield rescued a point with an injury time Alec Denton penalty.
Leaders Shaw Lane AFC host promotion rivals AFC Rushden & Diamonds where the Ducks will be looking to put the disappointment of being kicked out of the FA Vase by making it seven league wins on the spin.
Fixtures - Premier Division: Matlock Town v Whitby Town, Nantwich Town v Frickley Athletic, Sutton Coldfield Town v Buxton.
Division One South: Shaw Lane AFC v AFC Rushden & Diamonds Stamford v Sheffield FC, Stocksbridge Park Steels v Northwich Victoria.