Weather threatens local programme once more

Ben Turner: set to return
Ben Turner: set to return

Local football will be hit for a third successive weekend with a further drenching.

At Bracken Moor Stocksbridge Park Steels are set to host Barwell in a game crucial to Steels’ fading Premier Division survival hopes. Steels have not had a game postponed since the ground underwent a major overhaul last summer. And they are optimistic the pitch will be okay but chairman Allen Bethel admitted: “The problem we have is that we can’t get on the pitch to carry out spiking work to take surface water away.”

Stocksbridge’s game at Ilkeston was postponed last weekend and with relegation-rivals Frickley Athletic winning at fellow strugglers Stafford Rangers, it meant the gap between Steels and safety was extended to 12 points.

Barwell are 19th out of 24 teams and three-points above the drop zone. The Leicestershire side beat Steels 2-1 in the reverse fixture but have lost six and drawn one of the last seven outings.

Stocksbridge are almost at the point of no-return unless they can put a decent run together as boss Darren Schofield admitted; “It’s a big gap and the odds are stacked against us. But we’re still in there fighting.”

Defender Ben Turner is set to return after a month out through injury, while goalkeeper Jack Ward has recovered from an eye infection.

Sheffield FC face Newcastle Town at Dronfield where Club have not played in two months. Boss Ian Whitehorne is hoping the situation improves. He said; “Our pitch does dry quickly and had we had a game on Tuesday we would most likely have played. The other problem with not having played much lately is rustiness creeping in. You can train as much as you like, but it doesn’t keep match fitness levels.”

Sheffield won 5-3 at Newcastle in October when they led 4-1 at half-time. The hosts got it back to 4-3 before Ben Algar sealed it.

Worksop Town aim to consolidate their place in the play-off places with a win over Nantwich Town. Manager Mark Shaw said: “We’ve got ourselves into a good position; we now have to make sure we push on.” Leading scorer Leon Mettam is pushing for a start after coming off the bench to score in the 2-2 draw at Witton Albion after five weeks out through injury.

Frickley Athletic will look to boost their survival hopes with a win over Matlock Town. Karl Rose side moved four points clear of the drop zone following a mwin at Stafford in the last outing.

Matlock are unbeaten in four games since the turn of the year but the Gladiators manager Mark Atkins warned his team to be n their guard saying; “It’s always a battle at Frickley, their fans get behind them and they’re a good side on their pitch”.

Buxton go to second-placed Skelmersdale United where manager Martin McIntosh is likely to hand a debut to utility player Alastair Taylor after arriving from Alfreton Town on a month’s loan.