Stocksbridge Park Steel and Sheffield FC: non league latest and fixtures

Adam Hinchliffe set to return for Stocksbridge PS for the visit of third-placed Newcastle Town - Pic: Peter Revitt
Adam Hinchliffe set to return for Stocksbridge PS for the visit of third-placed Newcastle Town - Pic: Peter Revitt

Stocksbridge Park Steels play the first of four tough games this month against fellow promotion contenders when they host third-placed Newcastle Town.

It’s followed by home games against play-off rivals Belper Town and Romulus with a trip to leaders Shaw Lane AFC sandwiched in between.

Steels boss Chris Hilton says its just what his team needs.

“We have to make sure we hit the ground running now we’re in the second half of the season and the lads know that” he said. “The last couple of games have been frustrating. We need that kick up the backside and games against the likes of Newcastle and Shaw Lane will give us that.

“We know we need to start picking up points now if we are to get into the play-offs. Its going to be hard because their are a lot of teams fighting battling it out for the play-off places.

“We’re the only team to have beaten Shaw Lane so far this season and we’re one of only two teams to have won at Newcastle which shows what we are capable of doing when we’re on our game and playing as we know we can.”

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After back-to-back victories against Northwich Victoria then Stamford, Steels picked up just one point from their two games over the festive period drawing 1-1 with Chasetown followed by a 1-0 reversal at Gresley in the final game of 2016.

“We should had been out of sight against Chasetown before they got the late equaliser” said Hilton. “We created a hatful of chances but it was just one of those days when we couldn’t get a second goal. In fairness to them they stuck in there and grabbed a late goal.

“The game at Gresley shouldn’t have been played. The pitch was awful. They got an early goal that was a bit lucky, then penalty was never a penalty but Dave Reay made a good save and justice was done. Again we created good chances but we weren’t sharp enough where it matters in front of goal. But they’re gone now, we’ll learn from them and look forward to Newcastle.”

Adam Hinchliffe returns from illness while Nat Crofts is also available again.

Newcastle, who have just appointed former Burnley and Doncaster Rovers player Steve Harper as first team coach, arrive having not played since a 2-0 defeat at Leek Town on Boxing Day that left them with just one win in the last five league outings.

Sheffield FC face a tough trip to fourth in the table Leek Town as they look to take their unbeaten run to 15 games.

Manager James Collier says much of the run is down to the players who have grown together as a unit. “This group of players have something special at the moment, said Colliver. “You can feel a real buzz around the place the togetherness is as strong as I’ve known in all my years of non-league.

“It will be another tough one on Saturday. Leek are a good side, they’ve been beaten only once at home in the league. But we go with a full squad and with the confidence you would expect from a team on a good run that we can do the league double after the 2-1 victory at our place earlier in the season.”

He confirmed that Sam Finlaw will miss remainder of the season following injury in the 1-1 draw at Belper Town in the last outing. “Sam has a broken ankle and ligament damage. “I’m gutted for the lad as he’d been in incredible form. Myself and everyone at the club wishes Sam a speedy recovery.”

Leek are enjoying a decent run themselves having won five in and unbeaten run of six matches.

Shaw Lane AFC take on Market Drayton Town at home where they are unbeaten in 10 league outings.

The Ducks have slipped to second in the table behind Spalding United. But with four games in hand and just a two point deficit it is surely only a matter of time before Craig Elliott’s side are back on top of the pile.

Fixtures

Premier Division: Frickley Athletic v Skelmersdale United, Halesowen Town v Buxton, Matlock Town v Corby Town.

Division One South: Leek Town v Sheffield FC, Shaw Lane AFC v Market Drayton Town, Stocksbridge Park Steels v Newcastle Town.