Hednesford Town begin 2014 with one of their trickiest away assignments of the season, a trip to AFC Telford United, knowing a positive result is vitally important to keep pace with what is a very tight title challenge as the season begins its final, decisive half.
After a frustrating loss away to Leamington on Saturday, Hednesford boss Rob Smith, believes that his players need to cut out defensive lapses from their game and tighten up at the back in order to improve results.
‘We’re conceding goals for fun at the moment. There are some individual mistakes that are costing us and we simply have to put it right or we will get beaten again.
‘Saturday was a case in point, we spent the whole of half time talking about not making mistakes and the early part of the second half was a big disappointment. We were 1-0 up and cruising without playing very well, but a disastrous ten minutes and it’s always a challenge after that.’
New signings Marvin Robinson and Nathan Blissett have made goal scoring starts to their stints at Keys Park, with Robinson netting on his second debut against Telford on Boxing Day and Blissett opening his account in his first game in black and white against Leamington, but Smith once again stressed that all the players in the team must take the burden off current top scorer Elliott Durrell.
‘We can’t expect him to carry us all season. Elliott is having a dry spell in front of goal which he is perfectly entitled to do, so the other lads need to chip in but I’m very confident that he will soon be back to his best and, once our new strikers get to know each other, they will improve the team.’
Worrying news for The Pitmen is the continued fitness troubles of Neil Harvey, struggling with a muscular injury which will require a long rest to heal properly and also the hamstring injury which is likely to keep Jamey Osborne out for at least a couple of weeks.
Captain Darren Campion is suspended for accumulation of yellow cards for the visit to the New Bucks Head but Smith believes that all the pressure is on Telford and their manager as the expectation is so high for a team only recently relegated from the Conference.
‘Telford will always be under pressure to finish in the top five because of where they have come from whereas we can go into the game without any fear and, if we cut out the mistakes, can make a real game of it.’
With only four points separating the top six, much like Boxing Day’s dramatic, fully-committed 3-3 draw between the two teams, a positive result from tomorrow’s game would give the Hednesford faithful a dream start to the New Year.
Hednesford Town Form – LWWDDL
Previous Result – Leamington 2 Hednesford Town 1 – The Skrill North – Saturday 28th December 2013
Next Fixture – North Ferriby United (H) – The Skrill North – Saturday 4th January 2014
League Position – 3rd
AFC Telford Form – LLWWDW
Previous Result – AFC Telford United 2 Boston United 1 – The Skrill North – Saturday 28th December 2013
Next Fixture – Harrogate Town (A) – The Skrill North – Saturday 4th January 2014
League Position – 2nd
KO – 3pm
Address of Ground – The New Bucks Head, Watling Street, Wellington, Telford, Shropshire, TF1 2TU