Hednesford Town, fresh from a famous 5-1 victory in the Staffordshire Senior Cup Final on Wednesday night, welcome Stocksbridge Park Steels to Keys Park in their final home league match of the season, knowing that three points and a North Ferriby United slip up would see The Pitmen occupy top spot going into the last game against AFC Fylde next Saturday.
Rob Smith’s side secured their first piece of silverware this season with a comprehensive win and superb performance to boot in midweek but the manager is fully aware that there were some tired legs in the team and will be making sure his team start well on Saturday.
‘The freshness of the players is a concern. I thought we looked tired towards the end and it has been a very tough period for us, mentally as much as anything. We need to ensure we start bright tomorrow but I am sure the confidence in the squad will help us.’
Nathan Woolfe, who was sick before playing on Wednesday and was substituted just before half time, will have had three days to recover from illness but central defender Francino Francis faces a fitness test on the injury which saw him forced off before the final whistle at Vale Park.
Stocksbridge, now safely clear of relegation thanks to an upturn in form and fresh from scoring 14 goals in their last five games, will prove a tough test for The Pitmen and Smith has preached a patient attitude from his players.
‘They are a real form team, scoring freely and will be a massive threat playing without any fear now they are safe. We may have to be patient tomorrow.’
The support from The Pitmen faithful, so vociferous at Port Vale and throughout the season, will no doubt be vital again and Smith has called upon the Hednesford fans to also be patient during what will no doubt be a nervy afternoon.
‘The support was nothing short of sensational on Wednesday and you can tell with the interaction between fans and players that the lads love it and I really appreciate it. Again, I would ask that if things aren’t going our way the supporters stay with us.’
The final league fixture of the campaign at Keys Park is undoubtedly the biggest game of Hednesford’s season and, should The Pitmen prevail and secure three points, there will be a significant contingent of those loyal supporters making the trip to Fylde next Saturday holding realistic hopes of a dramatic last day title win.
Pitmen Form – DWWWWW
Previous Result – Hednesford Town 5 Rushall Olympic 1 – Staffs Senior Cup Final – Wednesday 26th April 2013
Next Fixture – Sutton Coldfield Town (N) – Birmingham Senior Cup Final – Tuesday 30th April 2013
League Position – 2nd
Stocksbridge Park Steels Form – LWLWWL
Previous Result – Stocksbridge Park Steels 0 AFC Fylde 2 – Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division – Thursday 27th April 2013
Next Fixture – Grantham Town (H) – Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division – Saturday 4th May 2013
League Position – 19th
KO – 3pm
Address of Ground – Keys Park, Keys Park Road, Hednesford, Staffs, WS12 2DZ