Buxton face massive ‘six-pointer’ showdown with managerless play-off rivals Scarborough Athletic

Buxton FC v Lancaster, joint manager Paul Phillips
Buxton FC v Lancaster, joint manager Paul Phillips

With just six games left, Buxton are gearing up for a massive home ‘six-pointer’ against rivals Scarborough Athletic this Saturday as they battle for a place in the Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division play-offs.

A crucial 1-0 away win at Grantham Town last weekend kept them in sixth place – just a point shy of fifth-placed Scarborough.

But with bottom club North Ferriby United wound up over unpaid debts this week, the Bucks could be elevated to joint fifth with Gainsborough Trinty if Ferriby’s record – as expected – is expunged.

Boss Paul Philips said: “We have always aimed to be in and around it this season and if North Ferriby’s record is expunged we will be joint fifth with Gainsborough with just six games to go and everything still to play for, which is exciting.

“We just want to finish as high as possible with this squad, which is a good squad.”

Buxton managed the win at Grantham, despite having five players out injured or playing on with knocks or illness.

They now face a Scarborough side with first team coach Steve Roberts acting as temporary manager following the sacking of boss Steve Kittrick.

“It is a big game against our rivals so we are pleased we have a week off as we have one or two injuries, which didn’t help the situation last weekend,” said Philips.

“This week gives us time to rest our bones and maybe get people back on the pitch where they need to be.

“We won’t have a clean bill of health but it can look better than last weekend.

“It is a massive, massive game against a side who have just sacked their manager.

“That means for the sixth time this season we will be playing a side who have just got rid of the manager and got someone else in charge which doesn’t help our cause!”

Philips said the sacking had come as a surprise to him, though he understood how Scarborough had spent a lot of money which had piled on the pressure.

“They do have one of the biggest budgets in the league and expectations there are very high,” he said.

“They have a lot of top players there and are a very good team.

“I am always surprised when managers are sacked, especially one who got them promotion last season and they are still up there in the mix this time around.

“It is all about expectations. But sometimes people panic and it’s better the devil you know than one you don’t know. Sometimes it can go totally the wrong way for you.”

Philips was delighted to get all three points in dreadful conditions last weekend at Grantham, adding: “It is not the nicest place to visit on a normal day.

“So with the wind and rain we had to contend with on Saturday, I was really pleased with the win.

“It was a terrible game for spectators but crucial for us to win it with the ongoing situation in the league.”

Buxton have taken young Australian midfielder Oscar Woods on work experience from Premier League Burnley.

Woods signed a two year scholarship for the Clarets in 2017 but has had a lengthy delay for his international clearance to come through from the Australian FA before he could play competitive football over here.

Although he was able to play some friendly games, it was an 18 month wait for the teenager before he finally turned out for Burnley U23s in a 4-1 win over Barnsley in November 2018.