Manager Jordan Broadbent is hoping to round off what has so far been a week to forget with victory over high-riding Newcastle Town at Dronfield.
Club followed up a 2-0 defeat at Spalding United last weekend by exiting the Doodson Sport League Cup at the third round stage losing 4-2 at Division One North side Farsley AFC after letting slip a 2-0 lead.
“It’s been a very disappointing week and a big learning curve for me personally,” said Broadbent. “The defeat at Farsley was hard to take. We’ve played well and gone 2-0 up and Ash Longstaff has a great effort tipped on to the bar. We could have been three or four up at half-time. The second half was a massive disappointment, we’ve conceded an early goal which has given them a lift then we’ve lost the game in a 10 minute spell. We’re not mentally strong enough; we’ve got to start believing in ourselves and our ability.”
Broadbent is confident his team can bounce back against second-placed Newcastle, saying: “We’re a Jekyll and Hyde team at the moment we are good at home and poor away but I fancy us against anyone at home, any team coming here are in for a game.”
Goalkeeper Jake Eastwood will be back in contention after missing the cup defeat due to being away at the Elite England Training camp. But Joel Purkiss misses his second game with concussion. Newcastle beat Sheffield 2-0 in the reverse fixture in October.
Stocksbridge will be hoping there is no sign of rustiness when they make their first ever league visit to Packwood Road to take on Tividale, for what is Park Steels’ first game in three weeks since the Boxing Day defeat at Sheffield. The hosts are in good form having won three and drawn one of the last four outings.
Steels, though, will be aiming to go one better than last time when the two teams fought out a 1-1 draw at Bracken Moor in October. Tividale snatching an equaliser with a second penalty after a Harrison Biggins with a stunner had given Stocksbridge a 10th minute lead.
In the Premier Division, in-form Frickley Athletic entertain Barwell at Westfield Lane. The Blues are unbeaten in the last four league games a run that’s seen Karl Rose side push towards mid-table safety thus raising hopes of avoiding another relegation battle. Ninth-placed Barwell have suffered a dip in form which see’s them without a win in the last four in all competitions.
Struggling Matlock Town will hope the 3-1 Derbyshire Senior Cup success at Alfreton Town in midweek will help kick-start their league season. The Gladiators go into the home clash against high-riding Ashton United without a league win in the last eight.
Buxton will aim to build on the 3-2 win at leaders Skelmersdale United in the last outing at lowly Witton Albion where the Bucks will also be seeking to avenge a 3-0 defeat at the Silverlands in November.
Premier Division: Frickley Athletic v Barwell, Matlock Town v Ashton United, Witton Albion v Buxton.
Division One South: Sheffield FC v Newcastle Town, Tividale v Stocksbridge Park Steels.