Preview: Harriers v Rushden & Diamonds
Harriers are finally back in action after an enforced ten-day layoff tonight with the visit of in-form Rushden & Diamonds to Aggborough.
Despite the long rest period Steve Burr still finds his squad stretched to the limit with Keith Briggs and Callum Gittings injury doubts while three players ares out through suspension: Aaron Griffiths completes his three-game ban tonight while Jack Byrne starts his and Ollie Thorne continues his. Mike Williams is still carrying his hip injury but should be OK to play. If both Gittings with his ankle injury and Briggs with his groin injury fail to make it Burr will have just fifteen players available to select from and could do with the reported arrival of Jamille Matt from Sutton Coldfield being today rather than later in the week if only to make up the numbers.
Rushden are one of the form teams in the Conference with five wins and a draw in the last six games and now are sitting in fourth place in the league table. Justin Edinburgh should have more players at his disposal with the return of on-loan duo Tim Sills and Rene Howe available after being forced to miss the weekend's FA Cup tie while Jamie Stuart returns from suspension.
Harriers are the most common opponent in Rushden & Diamonds' history with 26 previous meetings; the corresponding fixture last season ended in a 1-1 draw with Harriers' goal coming from Darryl Knights. Overall Harreirs have had the best of those 26 meetings with ten wins and eight draws while at Aggborough they have the upper hand, too, with six wins and five draws from 14 games.
I expect Harriers to line-up as follows (4-4-2): Lewis; Vaughan, Mi. Williams, Briscoe, Albrighton; Hankin, Briggs, McPhee, Shaw; Morris, Ma. Williams.
Subs (from): Wright, Sharpe, Blair, Stevens.
Missing (injured): Briggs, Gittings.
Missing (suspended): Byrne, Griffiths, Thorne.
Missing (on-loan): Hadley.
The referee tonight will be Stephen Ross from Lincolnshire. This will be his second Harriers game having been in charge of the home game with Salisbury City in December 2008 that ended in a 3-2 Harriers win.
Tonoight's weather forecast suggests that it will be mostly cloudy with a temperature down around 7°C.