Sheffield club aim to end poor run of form

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BOTH Stocksbridge Park Steels and Sheffield FC will hope to put behind them hugely disappointing Boxing Day defeats.

Sheffield saw their promotion hopes take a setback with a 5-1 home defeat against play-off rivals Belper Town at Dronfield and have now won just one of the last six in the league.

With automatic promotion almost certainly out of the equation with Club a massive 27-points adrift of the Division One South leaders Coalville Town. The play-offs are now the only realistic route to promotion for Curtis Woodhouses’s team, who even so find themselves 12-points outside the top five.

Tomorrow they take on another of the play-off contenders, fifth-placed Gresley FC at the BT Local Business Stadium in a game that now has far more significance after the loss against Belper.

The pressure will firmly be on Sheffield’s shoulders to come away with nothing less than a victory.

But it will not be easy against a Gresley side that have promotion ambitions of their own and whom go into the game on the back of four wins from the last six.

Boxing Day saw Stocksbridge slump to their biggest loss of the season with a 7-0 thrashing at Buxton as the relegation fears increased around Bracken Moor with Steels in the bottom two and having played more games than their relegation rivals.

Stocksbridge are on their travels again tomorrow with a trip to Lancashire where they take on AFC Fylde. Manager Darren Schofield knows his team must start picking up maximum points if they are to retain their Premier Division status but with just three wins from 25 league outings it’s going to take an effort of some magnitude.

Frickley Athletic should boost their own survival hopes with a win over troubled Kendal Town at Westfield Lane.

The Blues have been in good form at home, indeed it was only a last minute goal that saw leaders North Ferriby United edge to a 3-2 victory two days ago that ended Frickley’s run of eight games without defeat in league and cup on home soil. The Cumbrians are kept out of the relegation zone on goal difference only and arrive having won just one of the last eight in the league.

After climbing into the play-off places for the first time following their 3-2 home win over Grantham Town in their last outing, Worksop Town will aim to maintain their festive cheer with a victory over Matlock Town at Sandy Lane as the Tigers, with games in hand, start to focus their attention on top spot.

Buxton host second-placed Hednesford Town.