Quality of Stamford’s squad will keep rivals guessing in race for promotion

Stamford manager Graham Drury.
Stamford manager Graham Drury.
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Daniels boss Graham Drury believes he has enough quality in his squad to keep his play-off rivals guessing and give Stamford the upper hand in the promotion race.

Stamford make the trip to seventh-placed Leek on Saturday in the first match of a double-header against the Staffordshire side.

They clash at Harrison Park this weekend before the return fixture at the Zeeco Stadium the following Saturday (March 17).

Fifth-placed Stamford hold an eight-point advantage over Leek who sit just outside the play-off places.

And, although back-to-back games against a play-off rival is a far from ideal, Drury feels his squad will be better equipped to deal with the quick-fire clashes.

He said: “Playing the same team two weeks in a row is not something any manager relishes, but we’re in a position where we can put a side out at Leek this Saturday and then change the formation again for the match at Stamford the following week and I’m not sure whether many other teams can do that.

“We have enough quality in the camp to do it. Everyone is fighting for their places, but nobody can guess what we’re going to do.

“We have got so many options which is great to have, whether we play with one targetman, two targetmen or three runners.

“We could go with three in midfield or play three, four or five at the back because we have so many options.

“We’ve got a close knit group and hopefully that will see us through as long as the whole squad keep believing.”

Saturday’s match at home to Gresley last weekend was postponed as the wintry weather wiped out the entire Evo-Stik League programme.

Drury is now keen for his side to pick up where they left off after a run of form that saw them named Evo-Stik Division One South Club of the Month for February.

He added: “The postponement probably came at the wrong time for us so we’ve got to get back on the horse and get the momentum going again quickly.

“It’s broken a bit of the rhythm up, but nobody else played so every team is in the same position.

“It’s going to be a very tough game at Leek, but the next two matches are probably make-or-break for their play-off chances. It sounds a bit crazy, but it’s probably a bigger game for them.

“We’ve got to keep Leek quiet for the first 30 minutes or so and hopefully get the crowd frustrated and put doubt in their minds.

“I’ve got some tough choices to make with what formation we play and what side I pick because we need to be full of energy to match their work-rate.

“They will be a similar sort of side to Alvechurch. They are difficult to play against. We have kept a lot of clean sheets this season, but I’d gladly swop any of them to keep one on Saturday.

“If we can get four points from the two games then that will probably mean they will be struggling to make the play-offs.

“We’ve got to get the tactics right and hopefully we can match their heartbeat from the first minute and get ourselves on the front foot.”

n Stamford have rearranged their home match with Gresley Rovers for Tuesday, April 17.