Match Preview: Barrow AFC (H)

Smith Looks To Stay In Touch With Leaders As Barrow Come To Town…

Hednesford Town manager Rob Smith has set his in form Pitmen team the challenge of staying in touch with the leading pack in the run up to Christmas as Keys Park prepares to welcome high flying Barrow on Saturday afternoon.

The return of a number of key players to the Hednesford squad over recent weeks has coincided with the first consistent run of form since the beginning of the season for Smith’s side, having won three of the last four league fixtures including a 5-0 thrashing of Stalybridge Celtic last weekend, and the manager is looking to keep that going until Christmas.

‘It’s early days yet but I always believed that getting everyone fit was key to what we can achieve. No team can cope without their best players on a consistent basis and we are no different.

‘What we have talked about is staying in touch with the leading pack. We have some difficult fixtures coming up but if we can still be in touch with the top five at the turn of the year I will be pleased.’

Hednesford’s goal difference is scored eight conceded zero in the past two matches, with Steve Diggin scoring his first hat trick in a Hednesford shirt and looking sharp after a long injury and Smith has put the sudden spike in goals down to a ruthlessness in front of goal.

‘Going for further goals on Saturday was very pleasing. One of the justified criticisms of the team has been them not being clinical enough and in the last two games that has changed. It’s good to be winning games well and it also helps the goal difference.’

Hednesford’s opponents this Saturday are well fancied for winning promotion this season and currently lead the Vanarama Conference North by a point from AFC Fylde, so Smith and his team face a tricky obstacle in continuing their positive run of form but the manager, as always, is relishing the task in hand.

‘I’m really looking forward to it, as are all of the players. Barrow are a big spending side who will be a massive test. The have players on the bench who would walk into most teams in this division so it’s a chance for us to gauge ourselves against the best. We will be underdogs on the day but we will be right up for the challenge.’

Hednesford’s once sorely depleted squad is now fully fit and, with a decent away following expected travelling down from Cumbria, The Pitmen could evoke memories of performances against table toppers such as Truro City and Salisbury City down the years with another important three points.

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