Sheffield FC face a daunting trip to runaway leaders Basford United where they will try to attempt what no other team has managed this season: come away with three-points.
Only Chasetown, Cleethorpes Town and Gresley FC back in October have come away with a point. Since then Basford have won the last 11 on the spin taking their overall tally to 13 home victories from 16 games.
“It’s certainly going to be a very difficult game,” said club boss Mark Shaw.
“They are a well-oiled, well-drilled, hard-working side that have got the end game in sight.
“On the flip side it’s a free hit for us as no-one will think we’ve got a chance of winning at Basford but we always play better against the good sides.
“We’ll go with a lot of positivity, they’re top of the table and deservedly so, but it’s an opportunity for us to take the scalp of a team that’s the best in the division.
“I think we’ve got a bit of that never say die attitude in the camp now. If we can go out and produce a top performance irrespective of the result, then it will do our confidence the world of good.”
In the reverse fixture in September Basford ran out 2-1 winners after Sheffield had led 1-0 at the interval
Stocksbridge Park Steels make the trip to Market Drayton Town where they will be looking for three points that will keep them on the coat-tails of the play-off places
Steels go into the clash eighth in the table and six-points outside the top six, while Town are fourth bottom.
Nevertheless Steels boss Chris Hilton expects a tough game. “Market Drayton are fighting for their lives. They don’t make it easy on a sloping pitch that they know how to play and use to their advantage, so we will need to be on our toes from the first whistle to the last.”
Hilton feels with a little more luck Steels would already been in the top six but is reasonably satisfied with their current position. “It’s about fine margins. Last week we missed a stoppage time penalty to win at Spalding, got hit by late goals at Frickley when we were drawing, then again against Cleethorpes concede in stoppage tie when we’re winning,
“But we’ll knuckle down and pick up as many points as we can. We’re not that far away, when you consider it’s the middle of February we’ve lost just seven games from 27 and are eighth in the table, I’d have taken that at the start of the season.
“We’ve got the fifth best defensive record and are joint third highest scorers.
“It’s the draws that kill us, we’re just not finishing the job off or getting caught, but there is still everything to play for.”
Hilton felt the game at Spalding shouldn’t had been played but was happy with a point despite the late penalty. “The pitch was awful and cut up straight away” he said. “I think that’s why they were keen to get the game played as it made it a leveller. I don’t blame Rory Coleman in the slightest for missing the penalty his foot slipped in the run up, he was just unlucky. It’s was another point on the road , so we’ll take that.”
Scott Ruthven returns to the squad after missing the draw at Spalding due to family commitments.
Frickley Athletic host Kidsgrove Athletic as they look to bounce back from their first defeat in 10 outings and having three-points deduction confirmed for fielding an ineligible player.
It meant Spencer Fearns’ side slipped one place to third in the table but are just a point behind Bedworth United, who move to second, with two games in hand.
Kidsgrove -16th in the table - arrive having won just one of the last six which came in a 3-1 victory at Spalding at the end of last month.
Premier Division: Matlock Town v Witton Albion, Stourbridge v Buxton.
Division One South: Basford United v Sheffield FC, Frickley Athletic v Kidsgrove Athletic, Market Drayton Town v Stocksbridge Park Steels.