Preview: Harrriers v Gateshead
Harriers begin a run of top-of-the-table clashes this afternoon with the visit of Gateshead.
The next four league fixtures see Harriers take on Gateshead in sixth place and the other three teams with them in the top four.
Amari Morgan-Smith returns to the squad after missing the first five games of the season through suspension, Mark Carrington takes his place on the naughty step after being sent off at Guiseley last weekend and begins a three-game ban. Morgan-Smith may have to be content with a place on the bench but that will be dependent on whether or not Ethan Freemantle recovers from the knee injury that kept him out of the trip to Guiseley. Lewis Montrose is likely to come in to the side in place of Carrington.
Gateshead have had a good start to the season with victories over Kettering and Guiseley but they suffered their first defeat of the season at Leamington in midweek and are, in fact, still searching for their first away win of the season. Their player-manager Mike Williamson will be without the injured Danny Greenfield, Jack Hunter and Luke Williams while Adam Campbell could return to the side.
This fixture didn't take place last season, but Harriers did win the game at The International Stadium with a Montrose goal. Last time the sides met at Aggborough, the season before last, the game ended in a 1-1 draw. Overall the record between the clubs is close with The Heed having a slight edge with 17 wins to 14 from 41 meetings.
I expect Harriers to line-up as follows (4-2-3-1): Simpson; Foulkes, Richards, Cameron, Bajrami; Montrose, Martin; Hemmings, Austin, Sterling-James; Morgan-Smith.
Subs (from): Penny, Lowe, Bell, Lissimore, White, Emery.
Missing (injured): Freemantle, Moyo.
Missing (suspended): Carrington.
Missing (on-loan): Palmer.
The referee this afternoon will be Peter Shacklady from Lancashire. This will be his second time refereeing a Harriers game, his other one was a 1-1 draw at Altrincham the season before last.
This afternoon's weather is forecast to be cloudy with a 4% chance of rain and a temperature around 21°C.
Elsewhere this weekend the Under-21s travel to AFC Birmingham this morning, and the Under-23s entertain Sutton Rangers at 3pm. Tomorrow the Ladies play their first home game of the season when Sutton Coldfield are the visitors to the training ground.