Preview: Leamington v Harriers
Harriers face a tricky test this afternoon when they visit in-form Leamington in National League North.
Harriers themselves, though, are in good form with an eleven game unbeaten run ongoing and three consecutive clean sheets. Another win today would see them strengthen their position in the the play-off places.
Manager John Eustace will have his options restricted again with a number of players carrying injuries; in addition to Joe Ironside and Declan Weeks who were already injured before the New Year's Day Manny Sonupe and Andre Brown picked up injuries in that game making them all doubtful today.
Leamington have lost just one game in the last five which has helped them move away from the relegation zone; currently they sit in 15th place four points above the drop zone. Their last three games have seen beat Tamworth and draw twice with high-flying Brackley. They have been dealt a blow, though, by the loss of top scorer Colby Bishop to a knee ligament injury over the Christmas holiday that is likely to keep him out for the rest of the season. There will be a few familiar faces in their squad: Tony Breeden, Callum Gittings, Joe Clarke and Ahmed Obeng have all featured for Harriers.
Earlier in the season goals from Ironside and Sonupe gave Harriers a 2-0 win at Aggborough. That was the first meeting of the clubs since Leamington became Leamington FC; when they were known as AP Leamington the Brakes led the series six wins to three from 11 games and when they were known as Lockheed Leamington they led five wins to four from ten games.
I expect Harriers to line-up as follows (4-3-3): Hall; Pearson, Austin, O'Connor, Horsfall; Croasdale, McQuilkin, Truslove; Sonupe, Wright, Ngwatala.
Subs (from): Danko, Eve, Palmer, Taylor, Williams
Missing (injured): Bradley, A. Brown, Ironside, Vaughan, Weeks.
Missing (on-loan): J. Brown, Digie.
Missing (dual-reg): Finch, Webb.
The referee this afternoon will be Martyn Rawcliffe from Manchester. This will be his third time in charge of a Harriers game; last season he did the 1-0 defeat at Telford and this season the 3-3 draw with Darlington.
This afternoon's weather is forecast to be partly cloudy with a 5% chance of rain and a 5°C temperature.