by Paul Webster
Stocksbridge Park Steels boss Chris Hilton is delighted that control of clinching a place in play-offs place is down to themselves and not reliant on others ahead of Saturday’s home clash against lowly Newcastle Town.
Steels go into the game eighth in the table and six-points behind sixth-placed Leek Town with four games in hand.
“Its in our own hands that’s all we ever wanted going into the last month of the season,” said Hilton. “It wont be easy we know that, it will take some heroics but we’ve given ourselves a fighting chance.
“We’ve got to win the next two games against Newcastle on Saturday then at Kidsgrove next Wednesday and make sure we keep the run going.”
Stocksbridge stretched their run to just one defeat in seven league outings following the 2-1 win at Loughborough Dynamo on the last outing. “It wasn’t a good performance from us,” said Hilton.
“We were the better team in the first half but it became more open in the second as the weather deteriorated. We got a break with the penalty that Rory stuck away to win the game. At this stage of the season its all about taking the points which we’ve done.”
Goalkeeper David Reay misses the game as he serves the last of a three-match suspension. Full -back George Grayson is also ruled out for the next few weeks following surgery. But Luke Mangham is back after a long term knee injury and is likely to be given more game time, while Hilton has also brought in young central defender Connor Cutts from Handsworth Parramore.
Newcastle arrive in poor form having lost five in a winless run of seven games.