Leaders pose stiff test for Stocksbridge

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A trip to Premier Division League leaders Hednesford Town is hardly the fixture that Stocksbridge Park Steels would have wanted at the moment.

Gary Marrow’s side go into the game on the back of three straight league defeats which has seen the Bracken Moor club slip into the bottom six.

Steels will need a vastly improved performance to that of Monday, which saw them beaten 1-0 at home by previously pointless Buxton side in what was a very poor display. It also left Marrow frustrated and bewildered at his team’s lack of creativity and the Stocksbridge boss could well shake things up but his options are limited.

However, Marrow could give an instant debut to new signing James Riordan, brother of Steels defender Dominic, in midfield. It is understood Marrow is also trying to bring in one, possibly two, on-loan from Conference North clubs.

Whether the Steels boss manages to secure the players in question or not, it promises to be a tough afternoon at Keys Park Road. Hednesford have won all three home games including a remarkable 5-4 victory over Stafford Rangers on Monday when they came from 4-2 down to score three times inside the last 12 minutes to take their points tally to 15 from 18 possible.

Frickley Athletic entertain Ashton United at the Tech5 Stadium where the Blues are offering free admission to Premier and Football League season ticket holders as part of the Non-League Day.

Boss Peter Rinkcavage is hoping to bring in a new forward ahead of the game following the news that striker Ollie Ryan, signed from Northwich Victoria in the summer, is likely to be sidelined for another month. Frickley have not won in five since beating Burscough 2-0 on the opening day of the season.

Worksop Town go to third-placed Northwich in search of a first win in seven. Manager Martin McIntosh has suffered horrendous injury problems, which has seen the Tigers without up eight first team regulars this season.

It forced McIntosh to bring in former Rotherham United reserves winger Mitch Austin and striker Dennis Sherriff on a month’s loan from Stalybridge Celtic this week. Northwich are undefeated in six with three straight wins.

Matlock Town should stretch their undefeated run to six games at bottom side Burscough, who have picked up just a single point from six league outings. Boss Mark Atkins will be without suspended midfielder Gareth Davies. The game is at the home of Skelmersdale United.

Buxton go to Nantwich Town aiming to build on Monday’s 1-0 success at Stocksbridge which ended a run of five defeats on the trot.