By Danny Bloomer
Belper Town will be looking to return to winning ways when they host Pickering Town at the Silver X Stadium on Saturday.
The Nailers head into this weekend’s clash on the back of a 2-0 defeat at Loughborough Dynamo last time out and will be looking to claim all three points to keep their faint play-off hopes alive.
Prior to the recent disappointment at Dynamo, Belper had shown some excellent league form which propelled them up into the top half of the table, conjuring up a run of five wins in six matches.
Manager Grant Black is looking for his team to bounce back: “It’s what you always look for, a reaction. I think if you look back throughout the season, we’ve gone on five or six game unbeaten runs three or four times and then got beat, which is always going to happen, but then we’ve pretty much always bounced back with a positive result.”
Black will be without two key first teamers for Saturday’s game. Midfielder Craig Nelthorpe is suspended for four games following the straight red card he picked up in the Integro League Cup semi-final defeat at Farsley Celtic. Meanwhile, right back Alfred Thompson is set to miss the rest of the season with a broken arm.
The Nailers will be hoping to complete a league double over Pickering, where they ran out comfortable 3-0 winners back in September. Saturday’s visitors currently sit 15th in the Evo Stik East division and have won just one of their last 12 league matches, but Black knows the challenge the Pikes will pose.
He said: “We know Pickering will be a tough side, they are where they are in the table, but they got a draw against Stamford last week who are potentially pushing for the play-offs so they’re going to be no mugs.
“They’ll all know their jobs, they’re big and physical all around the pitch so I think set pieces will be crucial, but if we go and do what we can do then we are a match for anybody. We will look at them and what they’ve got, but we’ll concentrate more on what we are good at as well.”