Match Preview: Ashton United (A)

Hednesford Town travel to Lancashire to face eighth place Ashton United on Saturday, with The Pitmen holding the best away record in the league, having claimed the notable scalps of local rivals Stafford Rangers, current league leaders North Ferriby and play-off chasing Worksop Town in recent fixtures away from Keys Park.

Ashton United are gunning for the play-offs themselves and will no doubt prove another stern test as The Pitmen look to cut the deficit at the top, with manager Rob Smith, despite other big games around the league on Saturday, assuring the Hednesford faithful his team will be concentrating only on doing their own jobs.

‘Other fixtures don’t interest me at the moment; if we don’t do our job then all the other scores are irrelevant. We only focus on us and know that as long as we keep winning, something will have to give at some point.’

Hednesford not only go into Saturday’s game with strong away form, but have also scored a glut of goals since the New Year, 21 in 7 matches, and Smith stated how impressed he is that, despite Elliott Durrell being far and away his team’s top scorer, other players have weighed in with goals recently to help improve their goal difference.

‘This year we carry a goal threat throughout the team and it gives the players the confidence going into games that we can score.

There is a big gap in goal difference between us and North Ferriby at the moment. We have to try and keep chipping away as it might come into play at the end of the season. But first and foremost, our priority has to be to try and claw back the gap in points.’

Smith will take a fully fit and available squad to Hurst Cross on Saturday after Francino Francis served his one match suspension last weekend and Darren Campion shook off an injury which forced him off on Tuesday night against Alvechurch.

The Pitmen’s opponents have top-scorer Aaron Burns in their attack after a hamstring injury and recent new acquisition Dennis Sherriff, scorer of two goals in two matches will also be pushing for a place, with Smith marking out The Robins’ attacking intent as something for his defence to look out for.

‘Ashton are a very strong attacking side with quality both up front and on the wings, but we have kept two clean sheets recently and defended well.’

Should Hednesford negate Ashton’s attacking flair, pick up a tenth win on their travels this season and prevent a repeat of their 2-1 defeat at Keys Park in October, the victory will serve as further proof of The Pitmen’s continuing intent to catch title-rivals North Ferriby United.

Pitmen Form – WLWWWW
Previous Result – Hednesford Town 5 Alvechurch 3 – Birmingham Senior Cup Quarter Final – Tuesday 5th February 2013
Next Fixture – AFC Fylde (H) – Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division – Tuesday 12th February 2013
League Position – 2nd

Ashton United Form – DWDLLD
Previous Result – Matlock Town 2 Ashton United 2 – Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division – Saturday 2nd February 2013
Next Fixture – Ilkeston (A) – Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division – Saturday 16th February 2013
League Position – 8th

Travel Club Departure Time – 11am
Prices – £16-50 Adults / £12-50 Concessions

KO – 3pm
Address of Ground – Hurst Cross, Surrey Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, OL6 8DY

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