Hednesford Town welcome struggling Grantham Town to Keys Park on Saturday afternoon with The Pitmen clear favourites in a game which, following the 2-2 draw with Ashton United last week, is now absolutely vital in the title race.
Hednesford performed well against The Robins and rallied superbly to rescue a point after a two minute spell which saw them concede twice in the second half but, despite North Ferriby’s 4-2 victory against Witton Albion extending The Villagers’ lead to six points, manager Rob Smith firmly believes his team are still in a strong position.
‘We know we are in a title race. The players are fully aware of the points position but at this stage of the season six points is nothing. There is still so much football to play and FC United are making a real charge. We have to ensure we stay with the leading pack then anything can happen.’
Grantham, on paper at least, do not look to be the hardest remaining fixture for Rob Smith’s side. The Nottinghamshire outfit have lost their last four league matches since the turn of the year but Smith was keen to point out that playing teams struggling at the bottom of the table at this time of the season isn’t always the blessing it appears to be.
‘Every game presents its own issues whether it’s a team at the top or bottom. This year has proven that if, on any given day you are not right, you will get beaten. We have to make sure we are prepared against a team who will be battling for their lives.’
Smith has a full squad to choose from for Saturday’s game after Tuesday’s fixture versus AFC Fylde was postponed and, now that the snow has melted and milder weather has taken over, Pitmen supporters, players and management will be crossing their fingers, hoping that the Keys Park playing surface dries out in time.
This season’s previous meeting between the two sides saw a Grantham team, on another poor run of results, give The Pitmen a real scare when taking a 2-1 lead before Elliott Durrell and Sean O’Connor secured a vital three points; heaping further pressure on the now former Grantham joint-managers Wayne Hallcro and Jimmy Albans.
North Ferriby face an out of sorts Stafford Rangers on Saturday therefore a win for Rob Smith and his team is pivotal to keep on the coat tails of the league-leaders as their clash in mid-March begins to come into view, if not in the minds of players and management, certainly in that of the fans who are aware that nothing but a win will do.
Pitmen Form – LWWWWD
Previous Result – Ashton United 2 Hednesford Town 2 – Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division – Saturday 9th February 2013
Next Fixture – Port Vale (H) – Staffordshire Senior Cup Semi Final – Tuesday 19th February 2013
League Position – 2nd
Grantham Town Form – WLWLLL
Previous Result – Grantham Town 3 Kendal Town 4 – Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division – Saturday 9th February 2013
Next Fixture – Frickley Athletic (A) – Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division – Saturday 23rd February 2013
League Position – 19th
KO – 3pm
Address of Ground – Keys Park, Keys Park Road, Hednesford, Cannock, Staffs WS12 2DZ