Trophy heroes Halesowen focus on their chase for top
Halesowen Town travel to leaders Corby Town tomorrow, looking to halve the home side’s six-point advantage at the top of Southern One Central.
Yeltz lost the reverse fixture 2-1 in September, but haven’t been beaten in a league game since – going 13 unbeaten – and have four games in hand over their hosts.
The game comes just four days after Halesowen’s memorable victory over National League side Maidenhead in the FA Trophy, but manager Paul Smith insists the players are ready and focused to return to league action.
“All the players are driven and understand the enormity of the game,” he said. “The Maidenhead result was a huge achievement, and they enjoyed themselves Tuesday night, but it’s all about Corby now.
“We are the league’s in-form team and success breeds success. You gain momentum with wins and momentum is such a big thing in football, so the cup result can only help us on Saturday.”
Despite losing the reverse fixture in September, Smith believes Yeltz’s long unbeaten run and games in hand puts all the pressure on Corby this weekend.
“We were unlucky against them last time and had a red card, so we were a man down for the last 40 minutes, which made a big difference,” he said. “We’ve had the highest points per game ratio in the league since then and we’ll go there in great form and high spirits.”
Halesowen are sweating over the fitness of skipper Paul McCone and midfielder Ahmed Ali, and will definitely be without defender Andy Parsons, who has been ruled out for a month.
However, Smith refused to blame fixture congestion for the injuries his side have suffered in recent matches.
He instead praised his squad’s strength in depth – as well as a rotation policy – saying they have been key to maintaining such good form, despite playing every few days.
“I haven’t got a best 11,” he said. “I’ve got an excellent squad of 19 and like to make three or four changes most games to keep it fresh. We’ve build a quality squad and I trust every one of them.”
Yeltz will, however, be able to recall the services of forwards Jamie Molyneux and Isai Marselia for the trip east to Corby, after the pair completed their bans for suspension.
Meanwhile, Rushall Olympic will hope to bounce back into the Southern Central play-off places when they make the long journey to the Suffolk coast to face Leiston. The Pics dropped out of the top five with defeat to Coalville Town, who replaced them in fifth, on Tuesday.
Boss Liam McDonald said: “Our mentality has to be right and we have to take responsibility for the poor performance and make sure that we learn from it and return to winning ways at the weekend.”
In the same division, Hednesford Town and Stourbridge face one another at Keys Park.
Stafford Rangers remain rooted to the foot of the Northern Premier – they host Scarborough tomorrow.
Joint-boss Alex Meechan is hopeful for the return of Alex-Ray Harvey and Jack Sherratt, as well as a new striker.
He said: “Hopefully with hard work and sticking with our methods, we can get out of this.”
Chasetown play host to Stocksbridge Park Steels in Northern One South East, while Kidderminster Harriers travel to Boston United in National League North.