We kick the Christmas period off with a trip to FC Halifax Town on Saturday afternoon!
Our first of five games in 14 days takes place at The Shay, where we’ll be looking to do the double over Pete Wild’s side after winning at Meadow Lane in September.
Our Buildbase FA Trophy success at Chesterfield last week ended a five-match run without victory in all competitions and we’ll look to build on that.
Town’s form over their last six in the league has been identical to ours, with one win and three draws in that period.
They’re in danger of dropping out of the top seven if they lose, and we’ll move within two points of the Shaymen if we’re victorious.
We’ll both be keen to get our festive schedule off to a flyer, but both sides will come together to observe a minute’s silence ahead of kick-off to honour Jim Smith, Town’s former player.
The boss says…
“There will be a morale boost if we win on Saturday and get back in and around where we want to be.
“We’ve not had that feeling for four or five games now and we’re champing at the bit because we lost that ground and don’t want this to continue.
“This is a period we have to take points from otherwise we’ll find ourselves with a mountain to climb, so we need everyone to dig in to get us in touch – that’s the aim.
“We know we have to focus on us. If we don’t play great, we’ll lose the game but if we put in the kind of performance we can, we’re capable of beating anybody.”
Neal Ardley reported a host of injury problems when he met the media on Thursday, with Jim O’Brien and Ben Turner facing lengthy spells out.
Regan Booty and Sam Slocombe were also considered touch and go ahead of the weekend, but Pierce Bird has been recalled from his loan at Boston to reinforce the defence.
Town’s top scorer, Liam McAlinden, was an unused substitute as they beat Wrexham 4-0 in the FA Trophy last week, so he’ll have his eyes set on a return.
The Shaymen signed Shawn McCoulsky on loan from Forest Green earlier this month, and he netted the winner for Bromley during our 2-1 loss to the Ravens in September. He’ll hope to feature on Saturday.
Head to head
Kyle Wootton netted his first goal at Meadow Lane as we took the points in this season’s reverse fixture.
Michael Doyle was sent off moments after half-time but we rallied following the dismissal and the big striker grabbed the winner just before the hour mark.
Elsewhere in the division
LV BET, the Vanarama National League’s official betting partner, take a look at the pick of the fixtures…
Boreham Wood v Harrogate Town
Boreham Wood are undefeated in five, which is their best run of the season, while Harrogate have won just one in five away from home, but still hold a play-off place.
Wood’s Kabongo Tshimanga and Tyrone Marsh have scored 21 league goals between them this season and will fancy their chances of adding to that against a Harrogate side that has conceded more than anyone else in the top seven, but they have netted 38.
AFC Fylde v Yeovil Town
AFC Fylde have kept five clean sheets in their last six matches in all competitions and have only lost three home games this campaign, but remain just two points above the dropzone.
Title-chasing Yeovil haven’t lost in five away from Huish Park and recorded wins in their last two, at FC Halifax Town and Chesterfield, and have 16-goal Rhys Murphy, the league’s top scorer, in attack.
Torquay v Chesterfield
Torquay have lost five straight National League matches, which is their worst run for over two years, while Chesterfield remain in the bottom four having been beaten in six of their last seven.
The Gulls have shipped 13 goals in their last five games, including five against Stockport County in their last league match at home.
Chesterfield have been stronger on their travels, losing just four of their 12 games away from the Proact so far.
Chorley v Dover Athletic
Chorley’s defeat to Stockport last time out was their first in five, but it saw them return to the foot of the table.
No one has a better record on the road than Dover, who have won seven times away from home already.
The two sides drew 1-1 in the reverse fixture back in September but this is their first ever league meeting at Victory Park.
Referee: Benjamin Speedie
Assistants: Terry Fletcher and Johnathon Bickerdike
Fourth official: Joseph Goodwin