After a break from the FA Cup, the Vanarama National League North is back. Saturday features crucial games at the top and bottom of the table, with eight of the top nine sides in action against each other. It may only be October, but it looks to be a vital week as sides look to make their promotion claims. But how are each side doing heading into round thirteen on the calendar?
We start with top of the table AFC Fylde as they travel to Kidderminster Harriers. Fylde sit at the top having won all six of their away games, the last coming courtesy of a 98th minute strike from top scorer Danny Rowe. Kidderminster can take heart from the fact they have won their last four home games. Which sides winning streak will end come Saturday?
Harrogate are the side looking to capitalise on any slip-ups at the top, but they face equally difficult opposition in Chorley. Chorley remain unbeaten in the league at home, but slipped up last Saturday to Spennymoor Town in the FA Cup. Harrogate lost last time out on their travels at Alfreton, but after beating FC United in a replay during midweek, they’ll be hoping to keep momentum going against the miserly Chorley defence.
Two sides in the top nine looking to take advantage of any slipups from teams above include our very own Shaymen as they travel the long journey south to Gloucester. Gloucester’s home form has been exemplary this season with only two sides being able to better it, whilst Halifax would surely be in the playoffs had it not been for some inconsistent away form.
The final big game at the top sees Darlington play Brackley Town. Draws have been Brackley’s biggest problem this season having drawn as many as they have won this season. They remain unbeaten on the road this season, whereas both of Darlington’s losses have been at home, meaning Brackley can be confident in picking up a point this weekend.
If things are busy between sides at the top then they are even busier at the bottom as four of the bottom five face off. Bottom side Bradford Park Avenue travel to Telford on the back of nine consecutive defeats, while Telford have won just the once in their last eight. Will either side be able to pick up an elusive three points come Saturday?
The other big game at the bottom sees Altrincham make the short journey to Stalybridge. Altrincham are without a win this season and have picked up just the one point in their last nine. Things haven’t been much better for Stalybridge having lost nine of their last ten.
Curzon Ashton will be the big winners on Saturday as they know a win will take them away from the drop zone, but things won’t be easy against a resurgent Nuneaton. After a poor start Nuneaton have begun to climb the table with three wins in their last six, during that time Ashton have failed to win.
In a second all-Manchester affair Salford City travel to Stockport on Saturday. Salford have dipped in form in the league and are without a win in four, while Stockport will be looking to put together back-to-back wins against the side they knocked out of the FA Cup last Saturday.
Alfreton are looking to continue their free-scoring form as they face FC United on Saturday. Goals have not been a problem for the home side this season, but a leaky defence has meant that they sit in a mediocre mid-table position –something compounded by giving up a three goal lead at Kidderminster in their last league game.
We end the preview with two mid-table clashes, where a victory or a defeat could dictate whether sides should be looking up or down. Worcester and Boston are two in form sides having both picked up three wins in their last six. While Gainsborough will be hoping to continue their impressive home form against Tamworth; all three of Trinity’s wins this season have come at home, while Tamworth are lurking on the periphery of a promotion challenge and will deem three points vital.
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