Drury praises players for inspiring Stamford’s promotion push

Henry Eze heads clear for Stamford in the Boxing Day derby victory over Corby Town.
Henry Eze heads clear for Stamford in the Boxing Day derby victory over Corby Town.
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Daniels boss Graham Drury has heaped praise on his players for lifting Stamford onto the cusp of the Evo-Stik League Division One South promotion places.

A 2-0 derby victory over Corby Town on Boxing Day moved the Daniels into fourth place, just two points off the Steelmen who currently occupy the second automatic promotion place.

Stamford have collected 13 points from their last five games in a run that seen them concede just one goal.

They entertain promotion rivals Stocksbridge Park Steels at the Zeeco Stadium on Saturday (3pm) before making the New Year’s Day trip to face near neighbours Peterborough Sports (12.45pm).

Another healthy points return will strengthen Stamford’s promotion quest especially as second-placed Corby travel to runaway league leaders Basford United on Saturday while Frickley, in third spot, host Alvechurch who are a place below the Daniels.

And Drury believes it’s his players who deserve all the plaudits for their recent meteoric rise after a stop-start opening to the campaign.

He said: “The boys deserve all the credit.

“They have stuck to the game-plans and, all in all, I’m very pleased with how things are going.

“We’ve got a great group of players and to go out and beat a side like Corby on Boxing Day was a massive result for the football club.

“They are second in the table for a reason, but we did a very good job on them and have showed we’re capable of being among the top sides.”

Stamford will be aiming to avenge a 1-0 away reversal when Stocksbridge visit the Zeeco Stadium on Saturday.

The visitors have picked just two points from three games this month, although they held table-topping Basford and only went down to a last minute defeat at Frickley on Boxing Day.

Frontman Joe Lumsden is the second highest scorer in the division with 19 goals and Drury is wary of threat they pose.

He commented: “It’s going to be a tough one because they are a big, strong and physical side, but we’re going into the game full of confidence.

“The difference in our side this season is that, as well as being able to play, we can be physical when needed to as well.

“The spine of the team is very strong and everyone is really up for the battle.”

Club captain Jordan Smith is suspended for Saturday’s home match with Stocksbridge following his sending off for two bookings at Carlton last weekend.

He will return to the squad for the New Year’s Day trip to Peterborough Sports in a game that kicks-off at the earlier time of 12.45pm.

Sports are currently joint bottom of the table following a recent barren run, but did return with a point from their trip to the Zeeco Stadium in August.

Ex-Daniels players Richard Jones and Josh Moreman have also recently returned to fitness in a bid to revive the Turbines’ fortunes.