Stocksbridge Park Steels host AFC Rushden & Diamonds this weekend in the first meeting between the two teams.
Steels remain in a play-off place despite losing for the first time in nine outings against promotion rivals Leek Town on Tuesday.
“It was disappointing to end the unbeaten run but Ill take one defeat in nine any time,” said manager Chris Hilton. “We need to get ourselves back on another winning run starting against Rushden.
“It will be a tough game, they are a good side but if we play like we did in the second half against Leek we’ll get the result we want.”
Hilton was disappointed with the first 45 minutes on Tuesday saying: “We didn’t really create enough in the first half on top of which we gave away two soft goals.
“If you give teams like Leek a two goal start, then its going to be difficult to win. “That said we must have had 70-80 percent of possession in the second half. The lads gave me everything, it just wouldn’t fall for us. I thought when Harrison Biggins got one back we’d get something out of the game, we deserved a point.”
Stocksbridge are in sixth and Hilton is happy with how the season is panning out after an uncertain start: “We put pressure on ourselves at the start of the season by saying we we’re going for promotion,” he said. “We missed put on the play-offs last season so that has to be our target, a top six place at least, its about progression. We’ve got amongst the teams at the top. It’s nice to be up there but there is a long way to go. We’ve had a good October going unbeaten; everyone has worked hard. It’s important we keep that going and make sure we are there or thereabouts come Christmas.”
Sheffield FC aim to maintain their improved form on the road at Market Drayton Town.
After failing to pick up a single point from the first five away trips Club have now taken four from six over the past week, following up last weekend’s draw at Basford United by gaining their first win on the road with a 3-1 victory at Carlton Town on Tuesday.
Manager James Colliver felt it could have well had been a maximum six. “I would have taken the four points if Id have been offered them beforehand considering our away record. But it could have been even better. We’ve had a great chance to win it in the last minute at Basford but didn’t take it. I was pleased to get our first away win at Carlton, it was well deserved. We’ve gone 3-1 up then come under a bit of pressure which we handled professionally. We could have had a fourth just after half-time but we saw the game out and came away the three points.
“We’ll now go into Saturday’s game at Market Drayton in form. Hopefully we can come away with the three points which would put us above them in the table.
“We’ve got a more settled side now which is helping us be a little more consistent. There are players that have been left out that know they will have to fight to keep the shirt when their chance comes along.”
Connor Hall plays the final game of his loan period this weekend but Colliver is keen to keep the young striker. “We’ll be talking to Sheffield United to see if we can extend his loan. He’s been a real handful for opposition defences since he’s been here scoring seven goals in seven games so obviously we’d like to keep him longer if that’s possible.”
Shaw Lane will expect to maintain their one point lead at the top with a home win against bottom side Rugby Town.
Meanwhile, in the FA Trophy Second Qualifying Round draw Stocksbridge have been draw away at Division One South rivals Kidsgrove Athletic.
It sees Steels make a swift return to the Novus Stadium having won there 2-1 a fortnight ago. Shaw Lane have been handed a tough home tie against Premier Division leaders Whitby Town.
Premier Division: Buxton v Sutton Coldfield Town, Frickley Athletic v Nantwich Town, Whitby Town v Matlock Town.
Division One South: Market Drayton Town v Sheffield FC, Shaw Lane AFC v Rugby Town, Stocksbridge Park Steels v AFC Rushden & Diamonds