Non-league: Sheffield and Stocksbridge targeting the play-offs

Stocksbridge midfielder Nat Crofts is set to return from injury to face Rugby
Stocksbridge midfielder Nat Crofts is set to return from injury to face Rugby
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Sheffield FC boss James Colliver is gearing up for what he hopes will be an exciting end to the season as Club chase a place in the play-offs.

Colliver’s side currently sit eighth in First Division South, seven points off the final play-off place.

Sheffield FC boss James Colliver

Sheffield FC boss James Colliver

And the Club boss is looking to claw more ground back this weekend when they host ninth placed Bedworth United.

“I feel we’ve got a real competitive and settled squad now which helps with the level consistency in our play,” Colliver said.

“There is that confidence there now that when we go into every game we believe can get a result. If we do that then we’re going to have an exciting finish to the season.

“What’s really pleasing from a manager’s point of view is the response we’ve had from the lads in training.

“They’ve been in for extra training over the week because the game with Shaw Lane was postponed last weekend.

“They’ve responded to it superbly, playing to high tempo in the sessions we’ve had and shown they really want to get in the team.

“I think that says a lot about the character of the squad when the are keen to come in and not only do extra training but work really hard.”

Sheffield were beaten 4-0 at Bedworth just before Christmas but Colliver says they are better equipped this time around. “We’ve made some good signings since then and we’ve just added to the squad by bringing in Alex Pursehouse from Matlock Town,” he said.

“He’s a player that can operate in a number of different positions and will be a great addition to the squad.

“We had him here last season on loan when he was at Bradford Park Avenue when he did really well for us. He’s been in and out of the Matlock team and just wants to get back to playing regularly again.

“When we weren’t doing so well earlier in the season nobody wanted to join us. Now I’m having to turn players down. It just shows how quickly things alter in football.”

Stocksbridge Park Steels boss Chris Hilton is another man with a play-off place in his sights.

But Steels have much more work to do than their rivals as they sit in the midtable pack, 11 points off the top five.

And Hilton knows they need to pick up maximum points from their trip to second bottom Rugby Town this weekend.

“It’s a big game for us, we’re going there knowing we need to win,” said Hilton.

“Just because they’re down near the bottom doesn’t make it any easier. They are battling for their lives to stay in the division.

“We’ve talked about it with the players, they know these are games we have to go out and win.

“We need to start kicking on now if we want to get into the play-offs.

“It’s a tall order but its very doable. “We have games in hand and other teams around us to play.

“We’ve got a lot of games coming up over the next few weeks so it’s important we get as many points as we can.”

Leading scorer Joe Lumsden is likely to be out for at least a couple of weeks after suffering a knee injury inside the first 10 minutes of the 1-0 win over Romulus.

On the plus side, striker Brodie Litchfield is available after serving his four match suspension, while Nat Crofts is expected to be fit after missing the midweek game with injury.

It is also hoped that midfielder Richard Stirrup’s international clearance will have come through in time for Saturday.