Steels v Loughborough - Preview

Stocksbridge Park Steels plan to go on the offensive when they take on Loughborough Dynamo at Bracken Moor this weekend says boss Chris Hilton.

“We need to make sure we start on the front foot and get at them early on,” he said. “They haven’t done well on the road they’re on a run of defeats so if we can get an early goal then hopefully that will knock their confidence.

“We know we need the three points if we are to have any chance of getting into the play-offs

Its the way we have to approach all our games from now on. We’ve got to go out and try to get maximum points from every game. We know it will leave us open but we can’t do anything else at this stage of the season

“Its a tall order (the play-offs) but its not impossible. A lot of teams are playing each other so they can’t all take maximum points. What we have to do is keep going and try to make sure that we take as many points as we can then lets see where that takes us.”

Lougborough -third from bottom of Division One South - have lost the last 13 away in the league picking up just four points from their 15 away trips with their only away success coming in a 3-0 victory at Market Drayton Town back in August. So it is easy to understand Hilton’s thinking behind the importance at getting at the visitors early on.

Steels lay 13th in the table and 12-points adrift of the play-off places with a couple of games in hand after a 1-1 draw at fifth-placed Leek Town in a game that Hilton and his players felt bitterly disappointed in the end to have come away with just a point.

“I would have taken a point after the first 20 minutes, “ admitted Hilton.”They started well and scored an early goal after a bit of a scramble and you fear the worse.

“After that we really got to terms with the game and to be fair we’ve battered them particularly in the second half.

Scott Ruthven scored his second goal in four games. I’m pleased for him he’s is back to looking like his old self again.

We just couldn’t get the winner we deserved. Their goalkeeper was without doubt the man of the match. Leek is a difficult place to go and get a result so to come off the pitch disappointed we haven’t taken all-three says a lot about the performance we put it in.

We must now make sure we carry that into the game against Loughborough, it we do that then we’ll come away with all-three points.”

Hilton has a full squad to select from other than injuries to Ashley Burbeary (foot) and Joe Lumsden (knee). But Richard Stirrup (pictured) is clear to play following a delay in his international clearance.