Match Preview: Barrow AFC (A)

Hednesford Town boss Rob Smith has questioned the decision of the Vanarama Conference North to schedule a near-350-mile round trip to high flying Barrow on a Tuesday night in January as his re-invigorated Pitmen side look to continue their push towards the play-offs tonight.

The fact Barrow have lost only once at home in 12 games this season, a recent defeat to table topping AFC Fylde being the only blot on a near-perfect record at Holker Street, makes Tuesday’s visit to Cumbria a tough test regardless of the fact that a number of players may be missing due to work commitments.

‘Tomorrow’s game is as big a challenge as there is. Barrow are a big spending team who are excellent at home and they want to win this league. Second best is not in their interest.

‘It is difficult at any time but on a Tuesday night it makes it much harder. We may well be missing several key players because of work commitments too. It is a ludicrous situation having to go there midweek as it’s not just the day of the game where people work but the next being affected by getting home in the early hours as well.’

The Pitmen, resurgent since beating Gainsborough Trinity just before Christmas, have won three of the last four and, but for the controversial abandonment of their Boxing Day game versus Worcester City when 3-0 up with 14 minutes to go, could have been sitting in fifth place and inside the play-off places.

The character shown by the Hednesford squad has been proved again in the way they have recovered from the frustration at Worcester and Smith, also able to call upon new loan signing George McGee from Birmingham City, will be encouraged by the performance of his team of late despite the long journey ahead of them.

‘We were excellent again on Saturday against Lowestoft and dominated in the second half. Barrow have struggled a little of late but all we can do, regardless of who is or isn’t available, is take heart from our recent performances.’

The ever-present travel club coach will be making the trip up the M6, leaving Keys Park at 2.30pm, but those unable to attend can keep up to date via www.htfcsa.co.uk/forum or via Twitter @Hednesford_Town.

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