FC Halifax Town make the trip to Moss Lane to face Altrincham this Saturday, February 4, but who do the other play-off chasing sides face and how might the day pan out in the Vanarama National League North? Here we take a look at the other fixtures coming up this Saturday…
League leaders AFC Fylde make the trip to take on third-placed Salford City in what could be a key battle in both the play-off and title races. Both sides were big winners last weekend, as Fylde won 4-1 at home to Altrincham and Salford thrashed neighbours FC United of Manchester 3-0 away. Fylde have not showed any real signs of slowing down their promotion charge recently, aside from a 3-2 defeat at Curzon Ashton, which they will hope can just be attributed to a blip as they have registered two wins since.
Salford’s 4-2 defeat at the MBi Shay Stadium two weeks ago, looks to have acted as a wake-up call as they have won their two games since then, with a 4-0 win at home to Nuneaton preceding their FC United victory.
Fylde’s points lead will not be cut on Saturday, but Salford could join Kidderminster Harriers on 53 points with a win. Kidderminster are nine points behind the 62 of Fylde, but will have two games in hand after Saturday as they are in Buildbase FA Trophy 3rd round action at Barrow.
There is another big clash as the promotion race hots up, with fourth-placed Chorley entertaining Darlington who sit sixth. Chorley’s last outing was a 2-0 victory over Altrincham, their first league fixture since defeat at the Shay, and Darlington’s most recent game was a disappointing one as they were beaten at home, 3-1, by Curzon Ashton. Chorley can also join Kidderminster on 53 points with a win, while a win for Darlington could propel them back into the play-off positions if Stockport County (5th) slip up.
A Stockport slip-up might seem unlikely, given they are at home to second-bottom Stalybridge Celtic, and are fresh from a convincing 3-0 win at Brackley Town. However, Stalybridge have shown signs of life since the catalyst of victory over the Shaymen in early January. Two draws from two have followed, 2-2 at Gainsborough Trinity and 0-0 at Curzon Ashton. Baby steps, perhaps, but three games unbeaten is a start for a side who need wins fast if they are to bridge the 11-point gap to 19th placed Alfreton Town.
Tenth-placed Harrogate Town will look to get their fading play-off hopes back on track on the road at 15th placed Boston United, with both sides having lost last time out to Gainsborough and Tamworth respectively. Tamworth themselves will hope to take advantage of any slip-ups by Darlington or Stockport, as the possibility to move back into the play-off places is there. They will hope to bag three points away at Worcester City, who have only picked up three points from their last six games and have not won since November.
Elsewhere, AFC Telford United host Gloucester City, Gainsborough entertain Alfreton and Curzon Ashton are at home to Bradford Park Avenue. In the FA Trophy, as well as Kidderminster’s trip to Barrow, Brackley Town visit Wealdstone and Nuneaton have an appetising home tie against York City.
Read more posts by Kelly Gilchrist