Following a hard-contested win at Altrincham FC last week, The Shaymen now return to the MBi Shay Stadium for the latest Vanarama National League North fixture; a visit from Nuneaton Town.
The Boro make the journey up from Warwickshire sitting in mid-table on the back of three successive defeats to promotion contenders including Salford City and Kidderminster Harriers. Many will be hoping that a trip to the Shay will turn their fortunes around, including long-time supporter, Ben Bruce.
Bruce, a fan of The Boro since the 1980’s, has involved himself with many projects due to his love for Nuneaton. After helping with a fanzine and an online vlog, Bruce now finds himself on the board of the club cooperative.
However, his busy schedule does not get in the way of watching his hometown club. Bruce believes that, after a dismal start to the season against The Shaymen, things are looking up for Nuneaton.
“The season so far has been a real mixed bag. We started with some hope given where we ended up last season, but on the opening day we were outclassed by Halifax. It was really men against boys, and losing 3-2 flattered us.
“That set the tone for a miserable opening three months, until Kevin Wilson was finally let go and Tommy Wright came in as the gaffer. We then went on a nine-game winning run, that took everyone by surprise and the togetherness that we lacked earlier in the season was now in abundance”.
The last few games have been tricky ones for The Boro who have been on the wrong end of two 4-0 defeats in their last two league outings. Despite this, Bruce knows that there is quality in the Nuneaton side, and he has outlined some players to watch out for on the day.
“We’ve lost the last three, but they have been tricky ties away at Kidderminster and Salford, as well as at home to York in the trophy. We could really do with a home game against someone not in the playoff mix sometime soon…
“The real stand out player for me this season has been James Clifton. He left the club on Tuesday via mutual termination but of those there now, Jordan Nicholson and Joe Ironside seem to be the stars.
“Ironside is a proper old fashioned centre forward who can hold up the ball and find the bet himself, whilst Nicholson is a direct attacking midfielder with that little bit of extra panache. We played him as a left back against you on the opening day, which might explain why Wilson no longer runs the show.
“We’ve also just added Ty Belford to the ranks who is a highly thought of keeper, and the Belford family have a long history within football in our area. His dad Dale playing for us on two occasions prior to managing the likes of Tamworth”.
The overall improvement of Saturday’s visitors over the course of the season has allowed Bruce to remain quietly confident about taking some points at The Shay. Although, he admits that this is easier said than done.
“Given the last three games, it’s hard to expect a win at The Shay but we’re a much-improved team since we last met and, if we can get our noses ahead, I would have to expect us to come home with something. We have the pace to counter effectively, and that could be to our advantage, just ask ‘Darlo’.
“That said, a point at the Shay is always a good point, and I’ll take that all-day long. Up the Boro!
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