Hednesford Town, fresh from a surprise heavy defeat away to Gloucester City last Saturday, begin a run of three straight home games before Christmas which could very well define their New Year ambitions, ahead of a festive double header versus AFC Telford and meetings with rivals Leamington and North Ferriby.
The Pitmen, currently in the middle of their worst run of form for three seasons, which admittedly says a great deal about how well Rob Smith and his team have done since he took over, see the next seven days as ample opportunity to re-assert their position at the top of the table and make up for Saturday’s defeat.
‘It was an awful performance. We simply did not turn up. The players acknowledge how badly they performed and are keen to put things right, starting tonight. I won’t stand for performances like that so we need to ensure it is a one off. I’ve said it all year that league positions are irrelevant, if at any given time you do not turn up, regardless of the opposition, you will get beaten.’
Hednesford currently sit two points behind a resurgent Solihull Moors in first place, albeit with games in hand on teams around them and, due to the FA Trophy exploits of other sides, they will have made up at least two games on some of their rivals by the time a full Skrill North calendar resumes on Saturday 21st December with The Pitmen travelling to Vauxhall Motors.
Smith was also keen to stress how important the supporters will be at Keys Park in the next week and called upon those fans that have shown such great commitment to the cause not to lose sight of the bigger picture, despite recent defeats.
‘The fans have been superb in my time here, but it’s now when it really matters. I’ve said it all along that we will have difficult times this season and it’s when we have these difficult times that the players will really have their characters tested, likewise the fans. It’s easy to support a winning team when things are all going great, but it’s when the chips are down a little that we really need the support.
‘The same people who have supported the system, formation and personnel we have chosen consistently should not all of a sudden be looking for changes because of one bad result. This group have taken the Club on to a new level and I can count on one hand the number of disappointing performances they have put in over the last three years, so we need to back them.’
Team news wise, Michael Lennon (Thigh), Robbie Thompson-Brown (Ankle) and Dave Macpherson (Flu) are all doubts while recent new signings Greg Pearson and Umit Eminoglu will be looking to get their Hednesford careers off the ground.
All eyes will be on Keys Park to see whether a team who started the season playing with such verve and confidence can record only their third win in eight matches and get their league campaign firmly back on track, as they defend their 100% home league record.
Hednesford Town Form – WLLLWL
Previous Result – Gloucester City 5 Hednesford Town 1 – The Skrill North – Saturday 7th December 2013
Next Fixture – Stalybridge Celtic (H) – The Skrill North – Saturday 14th December 2013
League Position – 4th
Harrogate Town Form – DLWLWW
Previous Result – Harrogate Town 3 Altrincham 2 – The Skrill North – Saturday 7th December 2013
Next Fixture – Gloucester City (H) – The Skrill North – Saturday 14th December 2013
League Position – 9th
KO – 7.45pm
Address of Ground – Keys Park, Keys Park Road, Hednesford, Staffordshire, WS12 2DZ
Adult Main Stand: £12
Adult Terrace: £11
Concessions Main Stand: £7
Concessions Terrace: £6
Adult/1 Child* Terrace Ticket: £12
Adult/2 Children* Terrace Ticket: £13
Family** Terrace Ticket: £22
* Child under 16
** 2 Adults & 2 Children (under 16)