Preview: Harriers v Forest Green Rovers
Harriers face a must-win game when Forest Green are the visitors to Aggborough for the first game of the new year.
With the threat of a points deduction hangfing over them Harriers need to pick up as many points as possible, and a home game against a team just three points above the relegation zone is an ideal starting point. Steve Burr will make changes to the team that lost to Newport earlier in the week; Lee Morris tweaked his hamstring in that game and will be out for a couple of weeks. On the plus side, however, Callum Gittings should be OK after leaving the Newport game on a stretcher while Lee Vaughan is available after suspension and Chris McPhee knows what time the game kicks off today. Mike Williams will face a fitness test and could return to the side after having had foot surgery.
David Hockaday, the Rovers manager, will be changing his side around also as he has new signings Chris Allen and Kieron Forbes available. There will also be three former Harriers in the side with Gavin Caines, Luke Jones and Craig Armstrong all returning to Aggborough. As previously mentioned Rovers are just three points above the relegation zone, an unbeaten November has lifted them out of the bottom four where they had been since September. Last time out they triumphed 4-2 over Bath City at Twerton Park, just their second away win of the season.
This fixture last season ended in a 2-1 win for Harriers with goals from Brian Smikle and Damien Spencer; Harriers have the better of games between the clubs at Aggborough with two wins to one from seven games but overall Rovers have the edge in head-to-head meetings having won four games to three from 14.
I expect Harriers to line up as follows (4-4-2): Lewis, Vaughan, Sharpe, Briscoe, Thorne; Blair, Briggs, Byrne, Gittings; McPhee, Matt.
Subs (from): Williams, Shaw, Albrighton, Hankin, Griffiths, Wright, Thompson-Brown, McPike, Stevens.
Missing (Injured): Morris.
Missing (on loan): Hadley.
This afternoon's referee will be Mathew McLaughlin from Bedfordshire. This will be his second Harriers game having done the 3-1 win over Hayes & Yeading earlier this season.
The weather forecast for this afternoon suggests that there will be drizzle with a temperature of 5°C.