FC Halifax Town travel to Alfreton Town as they step up their play-off hunt this Tuesday, March 7 (7.45pm). It is the third planned date for this fixture as it has already been re-arranged twice. The Shaymen could only register a 0-0 draw at home to Boston United on Saturday, as they struggled to create many openings in the Pilgrims defence. Alfreton had their scheduled game at home to Stalybridge Celtic postponed at the weekend.
The draw against Boston took Halifax’s unbeaten run to eight games, comprising six victories and including two home draws, the other one coming at home to Stockport County (0-0). This is a run stretching back to the 2-1 home victory against Chorley on January 10, and given the upcoming fixtures there is no doubting manager Billy Heath will be hoping the run can go on for a while yet.
Alfreton, meanwhile, are without a win in four Vanarama National League North games, having drawn two home games against Stockport County (1-1) and Brackley Town (0-0), before two more recent away defeats. A 5-0 hammering at the hands of Curzon Ashton preceded a 2-1 loss at Chorley’s Victory Park, a defeat which came thanks to two late goals despite Alfreton having led for around an hour of the contest. Their last win was 2-0 at Gainsborough Trinity in early February, and it is one of only two league wins in 2017 for them, the first being a 3-2 New Year’s Day victory over AFC Telford United.
The Shaymen had won three on the spin before Saturday’s draw, with away wins at Altrincham (1-0) and Worcester City (2-1) sandwiching a 2-0 home victory over Nuneaton Town. They will be hoping to return to this winning form in double quick time as the play-off race really heats up. Unexpectedly, only one of the top ten won on Saturday, as eighth placed Tamworth beat Salford City 2-0 at home, so Halifax’s league placing didn’t suffer like might have been expected with anything less than a win.
With a win against Alfreton, Town would move to just a point behind fourth-placed Chorley with a game in hand, and could potentially be just a point behind third-placed Kidderminster Harriers were they to slip up at Stalybridge Celtic. They could also be making a big step towards securing a play-off spot, as a win would see the Shaymen three points clear of sixth placed Stockport, and still with a game more to play. It is a huge game for Alfreton too, as they are just two points ahead of Worcester, who currently occupy the final relegation place, albeit with two games in hand.
Wembley goal scorer and longest serving player Scott McManus was back in training last week. Though McManus is not likely be ready for the Alfreton game, Billy Heath might be hoping he is back sooner rather than later; especially if Josh Wilde’s back injury which led to his substitution on Saturday keeps him out for any length of time. If neither are available, Kevin Roberts could start at left-back with Cliff Moyo coming into the side on the right of defence.
Alfreton have recently signed 22-year-old right-back Wes Atkinson on a month’s loan from Notts County. The former West Bromwich Albion youngster is expected to be in the squad for Tuesday.
Recent form (league only), most recent first:
Alfreton Town LLDDWL
FC Halifax Town DWWWDW
Referee: Martyn Rawcliffe
Assistants: Kenwyn Hughes and Paul Buck
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