Preview: Harriers v Alfreton Town
Harriers will look to build upon last weekend's victory at Telford when Alfreton visit Aggborough tomorrow.
Saturday's win saw Harriers battle through adversity to end a three-game losing streak; youngster Harry Higginson came in for his debut and Tom Palmer came off the bench for his first league appearance and kept a clean sheet. Another win tomorrow could lift The Reds back into the play-off places and as high as fifth.
There are injury concerns, though, as Brandon Hall and Palmer are both struggling with injuries picked up at Telford and will need to face fitness tests. As a result, two goalkeepers have been signed today; Jake Weaver, 21, comes in on loan from Birmingham City and Kieran Boucher, 19, who was previously with Aston Villa and has most recently been with Lye Town. On the plus side, Ryan Johnson is available again after suspension, although Kane Richards is still suspended, and Ed Williams is close to fitness and could possibly return this weekend.
Alfreton were beaten at Brackley last time out, sunk by a goal from former Harrier Daniel Nti, stretching their winless run to five games. Their season hasn't been great and Billy Heath's men find themselves 16th in the league, seven points above the relegation zone. There could be a number of former Harriers on show with defenders Ed Wagner and Martin Riley and forwards Richard Peniket and Reece Styche in the squad.
Earlier this season the sides played out a see-saw 3-3 draw, Harriers' goals coming from Dan Bradley, Richards, and Joe Ironside. This fixture last season ended in a 2-1 win for Harriers. Overall Harriers have a good record against Alfreton with seven wins to three from 14 games played.
I expect Harriers to line-up as follows (5-3-2): Palmer; Vaughan, Austin, Heaton, Horsfall, Johnson; Penn, Weeks, Clayton-Phillips; Ironside, Chambers.
Subs (from): Boucher, Butterfield, Higginson, McAlinden, Phillips, Stratford, Weaver, White.
Missing (injured): Daniels, Digie, Hall, O'Connor, Truslove, Williams.
Missing (suspended): Richards.
Missing (on-loan): Baxendale, Taylor.
Refereeing the game will be Lewis Smith from Lancashire. This will be his third time in charge of a Harriers game, earlier this season he was in the middle for the FA Cup tie against Atherstone and the league defeat against Southport.
The weather forecast suggests that it will be wet with a 90% chance of rain and temperature around 9°C.
In the morning the Under-23 side face a top-of-the-table clash when they travel to second-placed Halesowen hoping to stretch their lead at the head of the table; kick-off at The Grove is 10:30. On Sunday the ladies entertain league leaders Sedgley & Gornal at the training ground, kick-off 2pm.