We host Maidenhead United on Boxing Day as festive football returns to Meadow Lane!
We’ll be looking to make it three victories on the spin after overcoming FC Halifax Town in a thriller on Saturday afternoon.
That brought an end to our five-match winless run in the Vanarama National League, and now we’ll look for a belated Christmas present by picking up our first three points at home since 12 October.
Maidenhead are five points, and places, behind us in the table and come into this one on the back of a 4-1 defeat at home to Barnet.
They’ve bounced back with a win after each of their previous two losses and will hope to do the same again as they visit Meadow Lane for the first time in their history. They’ve got one of the best away records in the division, too.
Neal Ardley says…
“Anyone can beat anyone in this league if they’re at it. Nothing’s easy at this level.
“It’ll be a tough game. Maidenhead have a way of doing things and it’s intense, so they’ll make it very difficult for us in their pressing and with their work rate.
“We have to take the second half performance from Halifax, carry that into the game and get our home crowd behind us.
“It’s a tough period but we can’t look too far ahead. The focus is on Boxing Day and getting everyone fit, and we’ll worry about the following games afterwards.”
Richard Brindley, Sean Shields and Mitch Rose were all forced off with knocks during the win against Halifax, so it remains to be seen whether they will recover in time.
Ross Fitzsimons deputised for Sam Slocombe between the sticks as the number one was left out to avoid aggravating the injury picked up at Chesterfield on 14 December, and he will hope to have done enough to keep his place.
Maidenhead striker Josh Kelly had to come off injured during the defeat to Barnet, and boss Alan Devonshire said their attacking threat departed with him.
They might look to Daniel Whitehall to provide the spark. The summer signing is their top scorer but has started just one of their last four in the league.
Head to head
This will be the first competitive encounter between the two sides, however we did meet in a pre-season friendly in 2011.
We were beaten 3-2 at York Road in our final game before the campaign kicked off, going on to miss out on the League One play-offs by virtue of goal difference.
Referee: Lewis Smith
Assistants: Christopher Reeson and Matthew Sowerby
Fourth official: Jamie O'Connor
Around the division
LV BET, the National League’s official betting partner, take a look at the pick of the Boxing Day fixtures…
Barrow vs. AFC Fylde
Barrow hold a two-point lead at the top of the National League and boast a game in hand on all their title rivals.
Fylde remain in trouble and haven’t won in three, losing six of their last nine on the road.
Ian Evatt’s leaders have won six from seven at home and are the division’s top scorers with 46.
Only Wrexham have let in more on their travels that Fylde’s 24.
Chesterfield v Solihull Moors
Chesterfield’s win at Torquay on Saturday was their first win in eight National League matches.
Title-casing Moors have only won three times on their travels - less than any other championship contender.
Chesterfield haven’t won at the Proact since beating us on 26 October.
Moors have the best defensive record in the division and top scorer Paul McCallum has nine to his name.
Harrogate Town v Hartlepool
Harrogate have taken just four points from a possible 12 following defeat at Boreham Wood on Saturday.
Pools have only suffered one defeat in five National League matches, a period in which they also earned a place in the FA Cup’s third round.
Harrogate’s have been in fine form at home, taking 19 points from a possible 21.
The sold-out away end will be looking for only a third victory on the road in nine. Pools have scored 13 goals in their last five away trips, though.
Yeovil v Torquay United
Second-placed Yeovil are undefeated in six and have scored an average of two goals a game in that run.
Torquay have lost their last six games – their worst run for more than three years.
It’s not just Glovers top scorer Rhys Murphy in form – attacker Courtney Duffus has scored four goals in three matches.
Out-of-sorts Torquay have conceded 10 in their last three matches but only three clubs have scored more than they have.
Wrexham v Chorley
Wrexham have taken 20 of their 26 points from home matches this season.
Chorley have lost only one of their last six but were denied three points at the death against Dover on Saturday.
Dean Keates’ Dragons are looking for back-to-back home wins for the first time this season. They have lost just two of their last nine at the Racecourse.
Chorley have drawn seven away from home – more than anyone else – but they have only scored 13 times on their travels.