Preview: Blyth Spartans v Harriers
It's a long, long, long trip for Harriers tomorrow when the head to the distance north to face play-off rivals Blyth Spartans.
By beating third-placed Brackley at Aggborough on Easter Monday Harriers moved seven points ahead of Blyth who sit directly below the play-off positions, so another win would really strengthen Harriers' place in the play-offs.
Lee Vaughan misses out at he begins a three-game ban following his sending-off at Boston last week; Sam Austin will probably move across from left back to cover for him providing that Joel Taylor has recovered from illness and can return to the side, otherwise Kennedy Digie could come in in the middle with James Pearson moving to full back. Elton Ngwatala managed over an hour on his return from injury in the game against Brackley without any adverse effect so should continue while Dan Bradley will hope to continue his recent good form that has seen him score in each of the last five games.
Blyth had a good start to the season which saw them climb as high as third place in the league. They have been in and around the play-off positions all season but their recent form has taken a dip and they have lost the last four and seven of the last ten. Their last two games have seen them beaten heavily by the league's top two sides and they have also suffered the ignominy of losing twice to North Ferriby who have only won three games all season.
Earlier in the season the sides shared nine goals as Harriers came out on top 5-4 with goals from Andre Brown, James Pearson, twice, Manny Sonupe and Andre Wright. Harriers have the edge in games between the sides with two wins from three games played; the one defeat, though, came on their only other visit to Croft Park.
I expect Harriers to line-up as follows (4-3-3): Hall; Austin, Taylor, Pearson, Horsfall; Weeks, McQuilkin, Croasdale; Bradley, Ironside, Ngwatala.
Subs (from): Brown, Digie, Palmer, N. Vaughan, Waring.
Missing (injured): O'Connor, Truslove.
Missing (suspended): L. Vaughan.
Missing (dual-reg.): Finch, Webb.
The referee at Croft Park will be Thomas Parsons from Rochdale. This will be his second time in charge of a Harriers game, the other being the game at Aggborough against Blyth.
The weather forecast suggests that at kick-off time it will be wet with an 85% chance of rain and a temperature around 9°C.