Hednesford Town return to league action tonight with an away match against Basford United. Basford is situated just over three miles to the north-west of Nottingham city centre and the football club are playing in the Southern League Central for the first time in their history having been laterally moved from the Northern Premier League over the summer. As recently as 2011 Basford were playing in the Central Midlands League and have won four league titles since in the East Midlands Counties League, the Midland League Premier Division and the Northern Premier League Division One South. They have had two completed seasons at Step three, finishing 7th in 2018/19 and 20th in 2021/22.
Basford have opted to play tonight’s game ahead of their FA Cup 4th qualifying round match away at Solihull Moors on Saturday despite league rivals Alvechurch, St Ives Town and Needham Market being granted postponements of their midweek games by the Southern League to allow a free week of preparation. Manager Mark Clifford is a former professional footballer who played for Mansfield Town and Boston United and used to be the owner of Ilkeston Town. He arrived at Basford as head coach in November 2021 and then moved to first team manager in January 2022 as part of a reshuffle that saw Nottingham Forest legend Steve Chettle move from first team manager to Director of football.
Basford are currently tenth in the league table with four wins, two draws and three defeats and they have former Pitmen striker Anthony Dwyer in their squad. The club have enjoyed an FA Cup run that has so far seen off Romulus (5-0), Rugby Town (2-0) and higher league Boston United were beaten on penalties after a 1-1 draw at home and a 3-3 draw away in the replay. They also progressed through their FA Trophy tie last week on penalties against Harborough Town and will play Marine in the first round proper.
The Pitmen will still be without the injured Riley O’Sullivan, Luke Rowe continues his comeback from a knee injury and Mason Birch is suspended but Kyle Bennett returns to the squad after his suspension. The Pitmen will be looking to continue their two match winning run having also scored nine goals in the process.
Ahead of a tough month of fixtures where the Pitmen have five league games and an FA Trophy tie in the next 19 days, the management team said: “We are confident going into these run of fixtures and we have to be. It was important for us that we changed the negative atmosphere as quickly as possible and a lot of that stems from showing confidence in the squad and believing in their ability. We haven’t set a points target for the month, it’s the old cliché but we are literally taking it game by game and of course we want maximum return from those games. One target we do have is to climb up the league as soon as possible and for that obviously we need to win games.”
This is the start of two away games in a row for the Pitmen and having lost our last four away league games and only picked up one point on the road from five games the Pitmen will be looking to start putting that right starting with tonight’s trip to Basford.
Ground address: Basford United FC, Greenwich Avenue, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, NG6 OLD