Preview: Blyth Spartans v Harriers
September 6, 2019

Preview: Blyth Spartans v Harriers

Harriers will look to leave their home woes behind and continue their good away form at bottom club Blyth tomorrow.

The league's worst home record entertains the second-ranked away record with bottom club Blyth still searching for their first win of the season.  A fourth consecutive away win should lift Harriers back into the top half of the table and help recover from the disappointing midweek defeat by Brakley.

Milan Butterfield and Rhys Williams will both be missing again, away representing Bermuda and England Under-19s once more.  John Pemberton was unhappy with the performance against Brackley and may decide to juggle things around, although his options are severely limited with two on International Duty.  Harry Higginson could come into the defence to allow Cliff Moyo to play in midfield where he has looked comfortable when pushed forward in the last two games.  Declan Weeks could be available and would surely go straight back into the side to strengthen a midfield that was largely ineffective in midweek but he may not be risked until next week.

Blyth have had a summer of upheaval and are suffering for it now.  Most of last season's squad has moved on an new manager Lee Clark has brought in a whole new one, although he does still have cluub legend Robbie Dale at his disposal who has played nearly 650 games for the club and scored over 200 goals.  The new faces have yet to gel, though, and the club finds itself at the bottom of the league with just one point, and that was picked up in a goalless draw with fellow strugglers Bradford Park Avenue.  Last time out they lost 2-1 at Darlington, scoring just their third goal of the season.

Last season goals from Fraser Horsfall, Joe Ironside and Ed Williams helped Harriers to a 3-3 draw in the corresponding fixture, a game that they should have won after Spartans had their goalkeeper sent off and had Dale in goal for most of the game. Harriers generally have a good record against Blyth, though, with four wins and a draw from the six games played so far.

I expect Harriers to line-up as follows (5-3-2): Gregory; Austin, Davidson, Sharman, Moyo, Johnson; Prosser, Shenton, E. Williams; Peniket, Chambers.
Subs (from): Freemantle, Higginson, D. Lowth, Palmer, Scott, White.
Missing (injured): Taylor-Randle, Weeks.
Missing (International Duty): Butterfield, R. Williams.

Tomorrow's referee will be Daniel Locker from Liverpool who will be taking charge of his first Harriers game.

The weather in the North East is forecast to be partly cloudy with a temperature of 13°C and no chance of rain.

Elsewhere the Under-23 squad will travelto take on AFC Birmingham at Bartley Green FC in the morning, kick-off at 10:30 while on Sunday afternoon the Ladies will take on TNS Reserves in a friendly at Lea Castle, kick-off 2pm.