Non-league: Stocksbridge Park Steels turn to experience after youth experiment

Scott Ruthven is back for Stocksbridge Park Steels this weekend
Scott Ruthven is back for Stocksbridge Park Steels this weekend

Stocksbridge Park Steels boss Chris Hilton is set to go back to experience after his youth experiment in the midweek League Cup defeat to Sheffield FC.

Hilton handed some of the club’s younger players a chance to impress in the 3-1 defeat at the Coach and Horses Ground.

But he will revert to a more familiar line-up for the trip to Loughborough Dynamo on Saturday.

“We wanted to have a look at some players,” Hilton said.

“Our reserves are top of their league, as are the U18s and the development squad, so we gave some of the lads a chances to show what they can do.

“In fairness to Sheffield, they did the same when perhaps they might had fielded a strong team as they have no game this weekend.

“The result didn’t really matter – it's competition that nobody particularly likes.

“It was an even contest until the last 20 minutes or so when they got the second goal, got on top and our young players started to tire.

“We’ve got some good lads coming through which is good for the future of the club.

“They are not quite ready yet but they will be better for the experience of playing in the first team and how I do things.

“They started a little nervously, which was only to be expected, but once they had weathered that I thought they did okay.”

Stocksbridge have yet to win away in the league this season, having lost two and drawn one of their three trips so far.

But Hilton is confident they can get that monkey off their back by keeping their current winning run going.

“Its pleasing to get two wins on the spin, now we want to go and make it three,” he said.

“We’ve got a good record at Loughborough. They have a good playing surface that suits us, as we often struggle on the poor pitches.

“We’ve then got Pontefract at home on Tuesday so we’re looking for maximum points from the two games.

“In the last two games, the lads have really knuckled down and been more solid, so I’m happy at the moment.

“We’re probably missing a bit of aggression and experience if I’m honest, but it’s a young side and they will only get that by playing games.”

Stocksbridge welcome back Scott Ruthven from a three match suspension and have Jack Poulton available again.

Hilton though revealed the defender Brad Beatson has left the club to join Premier Division Matlock Town, which could force the Steels boss into the transfer market.

“I’m disappointed to lose Brad particularly as he seems to have jumped ship so quickly but that’s football, said Hilton.

“With Todd Jordan struggling with an injury we might have to look at bringing someone in, possibly on loan.”

Sheffield FC are without a game this weekend with their next match at Loughborough next Tuesday.

Frickley Athletic visit Premier Division strugglers Marine in the Emirates FA Cup Second Qualifying Round tie fresh from a 5-4 League Cup success against Cleethorpes Town earlier in the week.

Fixtures

Emirates FA Cup Second Qualifying Round: Buxton v Coalville Town, Marine v Frickley Athletic.

Premier Division: Stalybridge Celtic v Matlock Town.

East Division One: Loughborough Dynamo v Stocksbridge Park Steels.