Crucial clash for Daniels in push for promotion
Daniels boss Graham Drury wants his side to stamp their authority on the battle for promotion ahead of another crucial clash this weekend.
Stamford entertain fourth-placed Frickley Athletic at the Zeeco Stadium on Saturday having moved back into the Evo-Stik League Division One South play-offs at the weekend.
An excellent 1-0 away win at Lincoln United elevated Stamford back into the final play-off spot and manager Drury now wants his side to cement their grip on a potential promotion place.
He said: “We’ve been in and out of the play-off places recently but, with the league being so tight, that’s happened to three or four teams not just us.
“It’s been a bit of a yo-yo, but we now need to put a run together in what will be a tough month for us.”
Stamford will be keen to avenge a 2-0 away loss when they host a free-scoring Frickley side – who have won their last four league matches – on Saturday.
The match pitches a Daniels side with the second best defensive record in the division against an Athletic outfit that are the second highest scorers.
Frontmen Jacob Hazel and Gavin Allott have scored nearly 30 goals between them this season while Frickley have recently recruited centre-half Danny Burns on loan from Conference National side Gateshead and borrowed striker Tyler Blake from League Two outfit Mansfield.
Drury commented: “The big games keep coming for us and anybody who finishes above Frickley this year is going to get promoted.
“They are a big, strong, physical side, but they can play both ways. They can be very direct or they’re capable of knocking it around as well.
“It’s a tough prospect, but we want to keep our unbeaten home league run going for as long as we can.”
A controversial penalty swung the match in Frickley’s favour when they defeated the Daniels in October while Stamford will be spurred on by Athletic’s celebrations in front of the visiting bench when they scored their second goal.
Drury added: “The penalty changed the game because it was a strange decision that nobody in the ground appealed for.
“They got their bit of luck that day so hopefully it will even itself out on Saturday, but we are going to have to be at our best.
“I’ve never had issues with them, but they antagonised us and it kicked off a bit so it will be a feisty game.
“They really struggled at Lincoln United recently where we went and won so we have the players who are capable of winning the game.
“They’re one of the promotion favourites and have the financial clout to do that. They’re strong so it is going to be tough.
“But I’m confident and we’ll be approaching the game believing we’re as good as anybody because we’ve proved that already this season.”
Defenders Ben George and Henry Eze were rested from training on Tuesday night to aid their recovery from back and knee injuries respectively, but Delroy Gordon has returned to full fitness.
Sam Hill has left the club after signing for league rivals Peterborough Sports on a permanent basis following a two-month loan spell with the Turbines.
The defensive midfielder joined the Daniels in 2015, but has made just three starts for the club this season.
Drury explained: “I had a long chat with Sam on Saturday. He’s been fantastic for me. He’s a good, honest lad, but he just wants to play regularly.”
Striker Bradley Wells has returned to Conference National side Gainsborough Trinity after the end of his loan spell with the Daniels while Olly Brown-Hill has returned to the Stamford ranks after spells with AFC Rushden & Diamonds and Corby.
Division One South – top 10
p w d l f a pt
Basford United 25 21 4 0 61 20 67
Bedworth United 25 14 4 7 41 33 46
Cleethorpes Town 22 13 5 4 48 26 44
Frickley Athletic 23 13 4 6 55 33 43
Alvechurch 20 13 4 3 39 24 43
Stamford 25 11 8 6 40 22 41
Corby Town 26 12 3 11 46 43 39
Leek Town 24 11 4 9 45 29 37
Chasetown 24 11 4 9 43 39 37
Stocksbridge PS 24 9 8 7 51 36 35