It will be a much changed Stocksbridge side that takes on Bedworth United in the final home game of the regular season at Bracken Moor this weekend.
Steels clinched their place in the Division One South play-offs beating Chasetown 2-1 away on Easter Monday, their eighth win on the spin and ninth in the last 10 league outings.
Chris Hilton’s men will now face a play-off semi-final away at Spalding United next Tuesday and the Stocksbridge boss want his team to be in the best possible shape. “We need to give ourselves the best possible opportunity to perform on Tuesday so we’ll be resting a few of the players on Saturday,” said Hilton.
“We’ve only got a small squad so we have to manage that as best we can. We’ve had a lot of big games over the past few weeks to get us to us into this position (play-offs). The lads have been magnificent but we’ve picked up a few knocks and need to take one or two players out to give them a rest.
“We want to make it nine wins on the spin if we can but we have to look at the bigger picture. That said we certainly won’t be turning out a reserve team. There will still be plenty of players in there with Evo-Stik experience. Richard Stirrup and Adam Hinchlffe for instance need 90 minutes after missing games recently. It will also give players on the fringe of the squad that haven’t had too many opportunities, a chance to show what they can do.”
Hilton was delighted to have sealed a play-off spot with a game to spare. “We’ve achieved our target which was a top five place. You cant argue with the stats, We’ve got more points than last season, conceded fewer goals the only downside is we’ve not quite scored as many although we’ve probably created far more chances.
I’m very happy with the progress we’ve made. When we came in we set a three-year target for where we wanted to be. This is our second full year and we’ve hit our target this season. There is still work to be done but we’re making excellent progress.” Hilton was happy to have come away with the three-points at Chasetown that secured fourth place. “We came out of the traps quickly and got the two early goals which gave us something to hang onto.
“They put us under a lot of pressure in the second half although they never really opened us up. What was important is that we came away with the three-points even though we were dead on our feet and just ran out of steam towards the end. “ Eight wins on the bounce is a fantastic run by any means. All the players have played their part and done exceptionally well, winning becomes a habit and at the moment the lads feel they cant get beaten.”
Bedworth arrive in a comfortable mid table slot having lost just once in the last nine, five of which ended in stalemates.