Stocksbridge Park Steels boss Chris Hilton has revealed he held clear-the-air talks with his squad as he attempts to push them up the Evo-Stik East Division
Steels sit second bottom in the table and face a tough festive period as they welcome Frickley Athletic on Boxing Day before visiting highl-flying local rivals Sheffield FC on New Year’s Day.
Though a few home truths were aired in this week’s meeting, Hilton insists the mood at the club has since been positive and hopes to see that carried into Saturday’s trip to mid-table Stamford.
“I’m fed up of saying they’ll be tough games because they always are in our position,” Hilton said.
“But we’re always positive so we’ll be trying for maximum points..
“I have to say it’s been a good week with a lot of positivity in the camp.
“We held a clear-the-air meeting with the players that went really well with a few truths being aired.
“It was all very positive stuff and the players took that into training and looked really good and up for the fight, so we’ll hope that can be carried forward into Saturday’s game at Stamford.
“It’s a crazy league at the moment and we know that a couple of wins and suddenly you’re in mid-table.”
Midfielder Jordan Lemon is available again but Hilton will be without Luke Mangham (back) and Reece Fielding (knee).
Sheffield FC boss Gavin Smith has urged his side to keep with the pace in the East Division over Christmas to give themselves a clearer picture of what needs to be done in the second half of the season.
Club – who visit Pickering Town this weekend – currently sit four points outside the play-off places but have games in hand over the majority of the sides above them in the table.
Pleased with his side's performance so far, Smith is putting tentative plans together for recruitment in the new year.
“The Christmas period into early January is always an important time with so many games in a short period,” Smith said.
““We’re in a decent position, although I’d rather have the points in the bag than games in hand.
“We want to make sure we’re there or thereabouts after Christmas, then we can assess the squad and have a look at what we need in terms of bringing in new players to push on.
“Firstly though, we have to make sure we go out and get as many points as we can from the next few games.
“Pickering are a solid side that have come up from the NCE League and done very well, particularly on their pitch.
“They’re strong down the spine with a good centre half and striker.
“We’ve got a few injuries but that’s football and we’ll pick a team that we expect to do well.”
Smith has confirmed that striker Waide Fairhurst has been allowed to join NCEL outfit Handsworth Parramore on loan in a bid for game time.
Club visit Belper Town on Boxing Day.