Cradley to visit rivals Smethwick Rangers in a six-pointer

Cradley Town chairman Trevor Thomas anticipates a crucial fixture this weekend with his side in a ‘dog fight’, writes Luke Powell.


The Hammers sit 17th in Midland League Division One, just one place clear of the relegation zone, with only goal difference separating them from AFC Bridgnorth below.

Cradley travel to Smethwick Rangers a point and a place below their relegation rivals, hoping for three important points on Non-League Day to boost their bid for survival. And chairman Thomas said: “We know we’re down in a dog fight, but we’d like to think we have the players to get ourselves out of it.

“This Saturday is an integral part of us staying up. We’re not sure what’s happening with the league and if there’s going to be any changes so we can’t bank on staying up if you’re in the bottom three. Everyone is working so hard. It’s in our own hands at the end of the day.

“The goal difference is a massive thing for us, which the lads have worked so hard at improving. We’ve got some big games coming up, but these games with the ones down at the bottom are the important ones.” Adding: “Every game from now is a cup final.”

Thomas joked about Tividale’s pitch where the game will be played and how it could play its part in the fixture in which he expects a tough test for his side in while expressing his love for the non-league game.

He said: “It’s massive. When you’re playing at Tividale with the slope it’s got then it changes the whole concept of football. Our lads aren’t used to it and they’ll have to adapt to it quickly. Smethwick will come out fighting. They know the importance of the game as well.

“Without non-league football, professional football would take a massive hit. We wouldn’t have the influx in England to produce the players that we have without non-league football.”

Elsewhere, there’s plenty of football to see on Non-League Day as Wednesfield visit Droitwich Spa, Bilston Town travel to Haughmond, Heath Hayes host Shawbury United while OJM Black Country entertain Hinckley AFC and Wolves Sporting welcome Chelmsley Town.

In the Midland Premier, Walsall Wood visit Atherstone Town, while AFC Wulfrunians welcome Racing Club Warwick and Wolverhampton Casuals travel to Market Drayton Town.

Stone Old Alleynians host Darlaston Town, Lichfield City visit Uttoxeter Town and Bewdley Town travel to Whitchurch Alport

In the North West Counties League Division One South, Brocton visit Maine Road, while Eccleshall entertain Stockport Georgians and Stafford Town host Rocester.

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