Preview: Spennymoor Town v Harriers
Weather permitting Harriers make their first-ever visit to Spennymoor this afternoon for the Game Of The Day in National League North.
A 7am pitch inspection is scheduled with sub-zero temperatures predicted overnight on a surface that has suffered a lot of rain in the last few days. Provided that the game is given the all-clear it will be fourth against fifth and a Harriers victory could move them up to third while opening up a four point gap over Spennymoor who have two games in hand.
John Eustace has a near full strength squad to choose from; Dan Bradley returned from his latest injury to come off the bench to set up the winning goal in the midweek win at Curzon. That winning goal came from fellow substitute George Waring who will be hoping to make his first start after scoring twice in three sub appearances so far. One who won't feature today is Andre Wright who has left the club to join Nuneaton Town; this season, in his second spell with the club, he made 16 appearances, 5 as a starter, and scored three goals to go with the 12 games (4 starts) and one goal he achieved in his first spell.
Spennymoor are unbeaten in six league games and have also been progressing in the FA Trophy; in midweek they made the long trip south to face East Thurrock United and went through after a 5-2 win. Their recent league form has seen wins over Bradford Park Avenue as well as wins home and away against Blyth Spartans and an epic 4-4 draw with FC United.
Earlier in the season goals from James McQuilkin and Andre Brown earned Harriers a 2-2 draw in the only other meeting of the clubs.
I expect Harriers to line-up as follows (4-3-3): Hall; Vaughan, Taylor, O'Connor, Pearson; Weeks, McQuilkin, Croasdale; Sonupe, Ironside, Ngwatala.
Subs (from): Austin, Bradley, A. Brown, Palmer, Pearson, Waring.
Missing (injured): Truslove.
Missing (on-loan): J. Brown, Digie.
Missing (dual-reg): Finch, Webb.
The referee today will be Leigh Doughty from Preston who will be taking charge of his first Harriers game.
This afternoon's weather is forecast to be damp with a 45% chance of light rain and a temperature of 7°C. Overnight, though, the temperatures are set to drop to -2°C and there is rain also forecast for the time of the pitch inspection.