FC Halifax Town assistant boss Mark Carroll believes Town are hitting form at just the right time ahead of their “six-pointer” with Stockport at The Shay tomorrow, kick-off 3pm.
Just one point and one place separates the two teams in the National League North, with Halifax aiming for their fourth consecutive win tomorrow.
Carroll said: “All the games are big now.
“With the run we had we were playing catch-up but if we can get another three points on Saturday we’ll be right in the mix.
“We’d also be taking three points off a rival, so it’s a six-pointer.
“They’re a big, powerful side and in Danny Lloyd they’ve got some quality there.
“It’ll be a tough game. They’re well organised and good at set-pieces, so we’ll have to be switched on at set-plays.”
Carroll has been delighted by the improved standard of performances from Town recently.
“Our football hasn’t always been the prettiest but we have shown glimpses throughout the season,” he said.
“The quality of the goals we’ve scored has been very pleasing, they’ve been well worked.
“We’re showing what we’re capable of, especially going forward.
“We’ve got some good players, but for varying reasons – injuries, suspensions, loss of form – we’ve not always shown that.
“But we’re coming into form at the right time. We’re getting players back fit now, and that means we can change things off the bench.”
Midfielder Jordan Sinnott is set to return to the squad after recovering from ankle and knee injuries.
He and defender Matty Brown are now back in full training and were due to play for the under-21s this week, but their game was called off.
Halifax travel to strugglers Alfreton on Tuesday before a trip to rock-bottom Altrincham next Saturday.
“We’ve got three big games this week and if we can come away from them unbeaten we’ll be in a very good position to push on and cement our place at least in the play-offs,” Carroll added.
“If we don’t then we’ll be playing catch-up.
“We’ve got nine points from three games against teams above us in the table and I don’t think anyone can say we didn’t deserve that.
“And there has been a bit of a bounce back in training – everybody’s talking about the football again rather than other things.”
Elsewhere in National North, Simon Weaver’s Harrogate Town play host to Gainsborough Trinity while Mark Bower’s Bradford Park Avenue are without a game this weekend. It’s also a weekend off for Guiseley as their scheduled opponents in the National League – Sutton United are playing Leeds United in the FA Cup on Sunday.
As a result, new signing Kevan Hurst will have to wait until at least next weekend for his debut when the Lions travel to Wrexham.
Title-chasing Farsley Celtic host Yorkshire rivals Brighouse Town in the First Division North with both sides looking to gain ground on the teams above them, writes Ben Groom.
Celtic are eight points off leaders Lancaster City having played three games fewer, and remain unbeaten in 2017. Eighth-placed Brighouse are also playing catch-up with the teams above them and know a win could see them climb into sixth.
Elsewhere, third-placed Ossett Town travel to Glossop North End level on points with Trafford and looking to build on their first win of the new year last weekend.
Tadcaster Albion host league strugglers Goole AFC with the hopes of bettering their recent form, having won just one league game in their last five. Albion sit in 15th but are just four points clear of the bottom three. Ossett Albion travel to Scarborough Athletic looking over their shoulders as the league table gets tighter at the bottom. Seventeenth-placed Albion have lost their last two games on the road but will be fresh from their win over Mossley last time out.
In the Evo-Stik Premier, Frickley Athletic will be looking for a fourth consecutive win in all competitions.
After a huge win against Frecheville in the Sheffield and Hallam Senior Cup, Frickley return to league action away to Coalville Town knowing another win would put them well clear of the drop zone.
There are derbies aplenty in the NCE Division One as six Yorkshire clubs go head-to-head, writes Ben Groom.
High-flying league leaders AFC Emley travel to Pontefract Collieries in an important fixture towards the top of the table. Emley will be looking to continue their impressive winning streak having won 14 of their last 15 games in all competitions. Hosts Pontefract are eight points behind the leaders with two games in hand, and know a victory could give them an advantage in the title hunt.
Knaresborough Town play host to another derby as they welcome ninth-placed Selby Town. The hosts will be looking to bounce back from their disappointing cup defeat to AFC Mansfield in midweek and know a win will heap the pressure on the top six. Visitors Selby sit eight points behind Knaresborough and will be keen to stop the rot, having lost three of their last four.
Yorkshire Amateur welcome Glasshoughton Welfare with both clubs jostling for positions in mid-table.
Five points separate the Yorkshire rivals yet Amateur have won two of their last three. Division One strugglers Nostell Miners Welfare travel to Teversal seven points adrift at the bottom of the table and will be desperate to get something from the game as they still search for their first win since October.
Meanwhile, in the NCE Premier, third-placed Pickering Town host Parkgate knowing a win could see them climb into second. Town will be looking to bounce back following League Cup disappointment and could extend their unbeaten league run to 13 games. Elsewhere, Hemsworth Miners Welfare will be looking to climb into the top half as they host Clipstone. Hemsworth have struggled in 2017 and will be looking for their first league win in five. Liversedge travel to Rainworth Miners Welfare unbeaten in their last four league games and looking to put pressure on the top six.
Garforth Town host strugglers Armthorpe Welfare looking for a win that could see them climb into the top half. Town have improved of late with three consecutive victories after a dismal December. Harrogate Railway travel to Staveley Miners having won their last three. Railway won in the League Cup in midweek.