Preview: Harriers v Gateshead
Harriers need a victory this evening when Gateshead are the visitors to Aggborough if they are to recover from two consecutive defeats.
There is a full squad for Steve Burr to choose from, even John Finnigan may feature on the bench, so it's a question of whether or not he decides to change things around. Matt Blair will hope to get another start on the wing after impressing in his first start on Saturday, while once again Nick Wright and Marc Williams are pressing for a place in the team in attack. Michael Briscoe should be OK ater having stitches put in a head wound picked up in Saturday's defeat at Crawley.
Gateshead will include a number of ex-Harriers in their side; Andy Ferrell, Craig Nelthorpe and Martin Brittain should all feature at some point with Brittain, in particular, guaranteed a warm welcome back to Aggborough for the first time as an active player having missed most of last season with a broken leg; another ex-Harrier, Ian Bogie, is still in charge of the side. The Tynesiders come to Aggborough on a four-game unbeaten run; they are currently enjoying a better time in the Conference than they did last season and sit in 11th place, five above Harriers, although a Harreirs victory tonight would see them leap-frog over their visitors. Craig Baxter could return to the side but Carl Jones has a knee injury that could keep him out for some time, yet.
The corresponding fixture last season ended in a 3-2 win for Harriers, the first half a of a league double over the Tynesiders, with goals from Brian Smikle, Matt Barnes-Homer and an own goal. At Aggborough Harriers have enjoyed good results against Gateshead with six wins and five draws from 13 games but overall Gateshead have the edge with 11 wins to 10 from 26 games.
I expect Harriers to line-u as follows (4-4-2): Lewis, Vaughan, Mike Williams, Briscoe, Thorne; Blair, Briggs, Byrne, Gittings; McPhee, Morris.
Subs (from): Finnigan, Shaw, Albrighton, Hankin, Griffiths, Wright, Sharpe, Hadley, Marc Williams, Stevens.
Tonight's referee will be Paul Graham from Manchester. This will be his first time in charge of a Harriers game.
The weather forecast for this evening suggests that it will be mostly cloudy and the temperature will be around 14°C.