Preview: Harriers v Southport
Caretaker-manager Russ Penn takes charge of the team for the first time this afternoon as Southport visit Aggborough.
Harriers have a Saturday home game after a ten-week break thanks to international call-ups, early cup exits and inclement weather. With the infrequent games Harriers have slipped down the league and now find themselves in 17th place, although the middle section of the table is close and two wins could propel them close to the play-off places.
For his first game in charge Penn has a full squad to choose from and will probably introduce goalkeeper Will Mannion who joined the club on loan from Hull City yesterday. The 21-year-old has been with The Tigers for 3 years having started his career in the academy at Wimbledon; he has made just one appearance for Hull and one for Plymouth in a loan spell. He spent all of last season on loan at Aldershot in the National League. Skipper Cliff Moyo gave the club a boost yesterday by signing an extension to his contract that will keep him at Aggborough until the end of next season. Declan Weeks will be facing one of his former clubs.
Southport have had a good season so far; currently they are sixth in the league and still in the FA Trophy. Last weekend's FA Trophy win over Colne ended a mini slump that had seen them lose two league games in a row at the hands of Spennymoor and King's Lynn.
Last season this fixture ended in a 4-1 win for the visitors with Jimmy O'Connor grabbing the Harriers goal. Overall, though, Harriers have a good record against The Sandgrounders with 18 wins and nine draw from 37 games played.
I expect Harriers to line-up as follows (5-3-2): Mannion; Austin, Davidson, Moyo, R. Williams, Johnson; Butterfield, Weeks, Hemmings; Chambers, Peniket.
Subs (from): Diau, Palmer, Prosser, Shenton, Taylor-Randle, E. Williams.
Missing (on-loan): Higginson, White.
This afternoon's referee will be Scott Simpson from Stoke-on-Trent. This will be his ninth time in charge of a Harriers game, theprevious eight have seen five Harriers wins and three defeats.
The weather this afternoon is forecast to be partly cloudy with no chance of rain and a chilly 4°C temperature.
Elsewhere this weekend the Under-23 side travel to Bredon this afternoon (2pm) for a Worcestershire Junior Cup tie and tomorrow the Ladies head to Leamington for a league match kicking off at 2pm.