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Stamford face Spalding United in a BetVictor Northern Premier League South East Division derby duel at the Zeeco Stadium

Daniels boss Graham Drury insists his side have a point to prove against near neighbours Spalding United in Saturday’s derby duel at the Zeeco Stadium.

The two sides go into the BetVictor Northern League Premier League South East Division clash in a contrasting run of form.

Second-placed Stamford have won their last six league games to move within two points of leaders Leek Town while fifth-from-bottom Spalding have collected just one point in their last six outings.

Stamford celebrate taking the lead at Spalding in November. Photo: Dan Allen (31415565)
Stamford celebrate taking the lead at Spalding in November. Photo: Dan Allen (31415565)

However, the Tulips are one of only a handful of sides this season to have taken points off the Daniels when they battled back from two goals down to force a 2-2 draw in the November meeting at the Sir Halley Stewart ground.

Drury said: “It was a bad two points dropped at Spalding. It's one game that I look back at and reflect on.

"I haven't reflected on the Carlton or Frickley defeats as much, but I do on the Spalding game.

"I think it was two points dropped so we've really got a point to prove.

"Local derbies are never easy and Spalding are a strong outfit. There's no doubt that they will give us a challenge. They've watched us recently and will raise their game.

"They will have to do that though because the chances that we're creating in games are going to go in the back of the net soon and I'm sure it's going to be fours, fives and sixes again and hopefully it's there on Saturday.”

Stamford go into the derby duel buoyed by a hat-trick of last-gasp victories which have cranked up the pressure on Leek.

After last weekend’s late penalty drama against Worksop, Stamford secured an injury-time win over Kidsgrove on Saturday before Jon Challinor’s 90th minute winner in the midweek match against Sutton Coldfield.

Drury added: “We can't let our standards slip. We've played some good sides around us recently in Stocksbridge, Kidsgrove and Sutton Coldfield.

"They have all been pushing for the play-offs so we can't take our foot off because we haven't been at our best in the last couple of games.

"I think we've created lots of chances, but we haven't been our potent self.

"We should probably have put Sutton to bed earlier on Tuesday night, but it doesn't matter how they come or how we play it's all about results now until the end of the season.

"We've got seven weeks left to enjoy it, keep pushing and continue doing what we're doing.”

While their recent run of form has closed the gap on Leek at the top, Stamford now have a 22-point cushion over sixth-placed Carlton who are one place outside the play-off spots.

That has prompted manager Drury to bolster his squad ahead of a hectic finale with some familiar faces signing BetVictor League forms.

Jordan Smith. (31418442)
Jordan Smith. (31418442)

Fans’ favourite Jordan Smith and popular centre-back Delroy Gordon – who were both part of the last Stamford squad to reach the play-offs in 2018 – have both dual registered with their United Counties League clubs.

Drury explained: “We're looking to sign six or seven players from different leagues just for cover.

"I spoke to the current players before Saturday and told them not to panic just because I'm making some signings.

"It's all about cover in case we're in the play-offs and get injuries. We've got to be forward thinking and that's what I always do.

“Jordan and Delroy were both more than willing to sign and help us out if needs be.”

Stamford have also submitted a seven-day transfer approach for Joe Burgess who was the Daniels’ top scorer last season with 12 goals and also got Drury’s vote as manager’s player of the year.

The approach for Burgess - who left the Daniels in the summer for Corby Town – expires tonight (Friday).

Joe Burgess (31418399)
Joe Burgess (31418399)

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