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Conference Preview

Posted by Kelly Gilchrist
Posted on Thu 9 Jan 2014
Posted in First Team

The Skrill Conference Premier attempts to return to normality this weekend after a gruelling Christmas period for many of the teams involved. The postponement of Tuesday’s match with Salisbury may have been a blessing in disguise for The Shaymen who would have been contesting their fifth match since Christmas, whereas the visitors hadn’t played since 28th December. Town travel to underachievers Wrexham on Saturday aiming to do a league double over their Welsh counterparts, but there’s also plenty of intriguing battles up and down the division.

Friday night sees strugglers Dartford travel to a Welling side who are placed firmly in the middle of the table. The Darts sit in 23rd, seven points from safety with the six teams directly above them all having games in hand on the Kent outfit. It’s been a torrid run for the Princes Road faithful and they will face a Welling side who have taken well to the fifth tier following promotion from the Blue Square South last season. United currently occupy 14th place and sit eight points below The Shaymen, and therefore the play-off positions, whilst also remaining 10 points clear of the relegation places.

Kidderminster Harriers will host Salisbury City with a new manager at the helm in the shape of former Coventry City boss Andy Thorn. The Harriers parted company with Steve Burr earlier in the week and wasted no time in appointing their new man in charge. Last season’s runners-up have dropped out the top five, albeit on goal difference, and may still be reeling from their 6-0 defeat at the hands of Luton Town last time out. Salisbury themselves will be fresh having had their last three matches postponed and not playing a game since the 28th December when they beat Barnet 2-1, and a win for The Whites will see them leapfrog Kidderminster in the table by one point.

Two sides with identical records so far this season will meet when Nuneaton travel to the International Stadium to face Gateshead, as both teams sit on 41 points after 26 matches. The Heed do have a better goal difference but there seems to be little to separate the two sides, and if Kidderminster and FC Halifax Town fail to win on Saturday then the winner of this contest will jump into the play-offs and go level on points with 4th placed Grimsby Town. Gateshead are unbeaten in their last four matches, including two draws against FC Halifax Town, whilst Nuneaton were defeated at Southport on Saturday.

Two teams at the wrong end of the table will also meet on Saturday when Southport entertain bottom dwellers Hyde FC who are still without a win all season. The Sandgrounders are two points ahead of Tamworth in 21st position but The Lambs however can boast a game in hand on the rivals. Hyde have lost 23 of their 26 matches this campaign and have picked up three points from three draws in the process. Having lead twice against Wrexham in a recent Christmas clash there was hope that they might finally turn it around but they went on to lost the game 5-2.

Braintree are the visitors to the Kingsfield Stadium on Saturday where they will face 18th placed Woking. Having played the same amount of games, the two teams form have been largely different with The Iron looking for three points that will keep them up with the chasing play-off pack as they sit four points outside the elusive top five. In contrast whilst Woking aren’t in immediate danger of falling into the drop zone over which they have a five point cushion, they will want to get as many points on the board to climb away from the teams sitting below them sooner rather than later.


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