By: Paul Webster
Stocksbridge Park Steels take on Romulus at Bracken Moor this weekend in what manager Chris Hilton describes as a game they simply must win.
Steels suffered their first defeat in seven games with the 1-0 reversal at Division One South leaders Shaw Lane AFC in the last outing.
It left Hilton’s side down in 13th place nine points of the play-off places but they do have games in hand on all the teams above them.
“We need to bounce back with a win the three-points are an absolute must,” said the Steels boss. “Our target as always been to reach the play-offs this season We know were good enough but we need to make sure we put ourselves into a good position for the final run-in
“We’ve got five games between now until the end of February and we need to be looking at taking maximum points or certainly at the very least make sure we don’t drop too many.
If we can do that then we should put ourselves in a good position. We’ve got a lot of the teams just above us to play so its in our own hands.”
Hilton feels his side need to start scoring a few more goals. “We’ve got the sixth best defensive record in the division but we’re not scoring as many as we should.
“We’re creating chances but not sticking them away. Its something we need to sort quickly if we want to get into the play-offs.”
On the defeat at Shaw Lane Hilton said: “I thought we were the best team for the first half hour. We’ve had one cleared off the line and there keeper has made a great save.
“They came on strong in the second half and put us under a lot pressure but we’ve defended well and I thought we deserved a point. But we’ve given the team I believe are the best in the league a very good game.”
Hilton confirmed he is looked to bring in a couple of players ahead of the game against Romulus with a forward though to be one of the likely targets.
Nat Crofts returns to the squad after missing last weeks game due to being on Sheffield United U23 duty. Matt Reay is expected to play despite the defender breaking his nose at Shaw Lane.
Joe Lumsden is a slight doubt with a tight hamstring, while midfielder Ashley Burbeary is unavailable.
Steels will be looking to complete the league double after a Lumsden first half striker earned a 1-0 win in the reverse fixture in early October.
The visitors arrive on the back of a 3-2 victory against AFC Rushden & Diamonds that ended a run of three games without a win.