Football makes a welcome return to Keys Park on Tuesday night after a break of over three weeks, thanks mostly to a phase of Arctic weather not particularly conducive to regular non-league football.
Despite the swift thaw over Saturday and Sunday, the pitch has emerged from its cocoon of snow and ice in relatively good condition and, due to strong winds today, The Pitmen’s clash with local rivals Stafford Rangers in the Staffordshire Senior Cup Quarter Final is likely to go ahead.
Hednesford boss Rob Smith, frustrated that the weather prevented his team building on their 4-0 shellacking of Worksop Town on January 12th, stressed on Monday that his players would be raring to go and are just as committed to beating their arch rivals as The Pitmen faithful no doubt are.
‘I am well aware how much this game means to the supporters but it means a lot to the players playing against Stafford too. Derbies are normally real contests and I see no reason why tomorrow will be any different.
We want to progress and will be taking it very seriously. It will be a good opportunity to blow the cobwebs away in readiness for Saturday’s game against Nantwich Town.’
Despite a prolonged break, Smith faces injury worries in attack as in-form strikers, Aaron Rey and Neil Harvey, both look doubtful with injuries picked up against Worksop. Top scorer Elliott Durrell and Sean O’Connor are also carrying knocks picked up in training over the last fortnight. Centre half, Francino Francis will also sit out the game due to his New Year’s Day sending off against Rushall but a quirk in the rules of the Staffs Senior Cup means he will still be suspended for Saturday’s league match.
The Rangers have spent the majority of their break sweating on the future of top scorer and former Pitman Danny Quinn, subject of an enquiry by Ilkeston, but, despite the striker pledging his future to Marston Road, The Rangers’ poor away form and Hednesford’s strong record at Keys Park makes The Pitmen favourites in the third Cannock Chase derby of the season.
Admission: Adults – £6 / Concessions – £4
Kick Off: £6 and 7:45pm
Pitmen Form – LWLWLW
Previous Result – Worksop Town 0 Hednesford Town 4 – Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division – Saturday 12th January 2013
Next Fixture – Nantwich Town (H) – Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division – Saturday 2nd February 2013
League Position – 2nd
Stafford Rangers Form – WLWDLL
Previous Result – FC United 3 Stafford Rangers 0 – Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division – Saturday 12th January 2013
Next Fixture – Ilkeston (A) – Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division – Saturday 2nd February 2013
League Position – 12th