Preview: Harriers v Southport
Harriers play their first home Conference game of the season tonight with newly promoted Southport the visitors to Aggborough.
This will be the fourth time in five season that Harriers have started their home campaign against a newly-promoted tea, although this will be the first time in that period that they have faced a team promoted from Conference North. Steve Burr's men will be looking to build upon their excellent start at York with another win against The Sandgrounders, and after that win at Bootham Crescent have given Burr a selection headache. John Finnigan is nearing fitness and could feature in midfield while now that his international clearance has come through Marc Williams will vie with Nick Wright to take the place of Lee Morris if he is deemed not fit enough after being substituted as precaution at half-time at York. Lee Vaughan is the only player definitely not involved as he is still suspended.
Southport were edged out in their opening game in a narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of AFC Wimbledon and will be hoping to improve on that result. Liam Watson will make changes to the team that played on Saturday; one-time Harriers trialist Adam Flynn will be missing as his day job as the Youth Team coach at Liverpool has called him away. Tony Gray suffered a broken nose in the game against Wimbledon but may be OK to feature tonight while Steve Daly is available again after sitting out the previous match through suspension.
In the past Harriers have had the best of the games against Southport, winning the last three. The last time the teams met was in the 2006-07 season, Luke Reynolds scoring the only goal of the game at Haig Avenue while the game at Aggborough ended in a 2-0 Harriers win with goals from Andy White and Gavin Hurren. Overall there have been 21 previous encounters with Harriers winning 11 and drawing 5.
I expect Harriers to line-up as follows (4-4-2): Lewis; Shaw, Briscoe, Albrighton, Mike Williams; Hankin, Briggs, Byrne, Gittings; McPhee, Morris.
Subs (from): Finnigan, Griffiths, Wright, Sharpe, Blair, Hadley, Marc Williams, Stevens.
Missing (suspended): Vaughan.
Tonight's referee is Andy Hendley from the West Midlands. This will be his sixth time in charge of a Harriers game, the previous five ended with two Harriers wins and three defeats. The most recent game was the 1-0 defeat at home to York City last season.
The weather tonight is forecast to be showery at kick-off time with a temperature of 17°C.