Preview: Southport v Harriers
Harriers head to Haig Avenue this afternoon looking to bounce back from two disappointing home draws.
After dropping points in two consecutive home games from strong positions in both Harriers have slipped to 15th in the league and need to pick up a victory to boost both confidence and league position. They are still just three points from the play-off places, though, and the table could look much healthier come five o'clock.
There is another new face in the squad for the trip; former Coventry City midfielder Jack Finch has signed on a short-term contract and goes straight into the squad. The 21 year-old was released by the Sky Blues at the end of last season after eleven years with the club where he came through the youth system to make a total 22 senior appearances. One player who won't feature is Daniel Nti who has had his contract cancelled by mutual consent this week and has moved to Nuneaton Town. There are no new injury concerns for John Eustace to contend with, just Liam Truslove and Lee Vaughan out.
Southport had a great start to the season winning four of the opening six games but have dipped a little with just one win in four and two defeats in the last three including a 6-0 thrashing at Stockport last time out. Despite that result they are still sitting in fourth place in the league. Ahead of the game boss Alan Lewer has added experienced Lee Croft to his squad, the 32 year-old winger has seen service in the past with Manchester City and Derby and was in the Oldham Athletic side that knocked Harriers out of the FA Cup in 2012.
The clubs last met in the final game of Harriers' relegation season the season before last with Harriers coming out on top at Haig Avenue 4-3 with goals from James McQuilkin, Elton Ngwatala, Tyrone Williams and Evan Garnett. Overall Harriers have a good record against The Sandgrounders with 16 wins to nine from 33 previous meetings.
I expect Harriers to line-up as follows (4-3-3: Hall; Austin, Taylor, Williams, Horsfall; Croasdale, McQuilkin, Ngwatala; Sonupe, Ironside, Bradley.
Subs (from): Bannister, A. Brown, Digie, Finch, Longbottom, Webb, Weeks, Wright.
Missing (injured): Truslove, Vaughan.
Missing (on-loan): J. Brown, Clarke, Palmer.
The referee at Haig Avenue will be Samuel Barrott from West Riding who will be in charge of a Harriers game for the first time.
This afternoon's weather is forecast to be mostly cloudy with a temperature of 16°C and a 15% chance of rain.