Daniels urged to pile the pressure on promotion rivals
Daniels boss Graham Drury is urging his side to turn up the heat on their promotion rivals ahead of a double bill of crucial clashes against their fellow play-off contenders.
Fourth-placed Stamford make the trip to face Bedworth United on Saturday looking to close the five-point gap on the Greenbacks in third spot.
They then host Alvechurch – who have the same amount of points as Stamford – the following weekend in what promises to be an important spell for Drury’s side.
He said: “If we can take three points off Bedworth then it will put a lot of pressure on them. If we lose and they move eight points clear then they will be pushing away from us.
“A point wouldn’t be disastrous, but we won’t be looking for that because three points would be fantastic.
“We’ve got two really tough games coming up – I’d be chuffed with four points but six would be amazing.”
Stamford travel to Bedworth aiming to become only the second side this season to win on the 3G surface at The Oval.
The Greenbacks have collected 34 points from a possible 45 at home this season and returned with a share of the spoils after a 1-1 draw at Stamford earlier in the campaign.
Drury added: “It will be a really tough test but, if we want to keep pushing on as high as we can, then we’ve got to expect these type of games.
“They are a big club who have been there before so it’s going to be tough. Their front three – Luke Keen, Alex Troke and Iyseden Christie – are a real handful while they’re experienced at the back.
“They’ve only lost one game at home this season and they’ve got the advantage of playing regularly on the 3G.
“We went to Basford and played really well on the 3G though and the technical footballers in the squad enjoy playing on it.
“We played really well there last season and scored the winner in the last minute so hopefully we can do the same again.
“We will need to be strong defensively and, although we’ve got to be expansive going forward, we’re away from home so we’ve got to be sensible in our approach.”
Stamford will be buoyed by a 1-0 away success at Kidsgrove last Saturday which saw the Daniels keep their 15th clean sheet of the season in all competitions.
They were further boosted by play-off rivals Cleethorpes Town having 12 points deducted for fielding an ineligible loan player.
Ben George is expected to be fit after being forced off at half-time through illness at Kidsgrove while Saturday’s match-winner Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson and recent recruit Kieran Wells are both expected to shake off dead legs.
Drury ended a lengthy pursuit of frontman Wells – brother of Brad who spent time on loan with the Daniels earlier this season – when he signed for Stamford following his release from league leaders Basford last Friday.
Drury enthused: “I’ve been after Kieran for a long time. I’ve had to be patient and it’s finally paid off.
“He won a lot of headers on Saturday and held up the ball well. He’s a good finisher and, with the work-rate he brings, it’s a real coup to get him.
“He’s an infectious character who will be great for the changing room. He epitomises everything I’m about in his enthusiasm, drive and passion for the game.
“We’ve added Callum Ball and now Kieran in recent weeks so we’ve a real threat going forward.”
Wells’ arrival has seen the departure of play-maker Pearson Mwanyongo who has joined league rivals Gresley Rovers.