Play-off rivals to lock horns

Buxton FC v Matlock Town , John Reed
Buxton FC v Matlock Town , John Reed

BUXTON FC will look to strengthen their promotion push on Saturday when they take on fellow play-off challengers North Ferriby United at the Silverlands (kick-off 3pm).

The Bucks have slipped to fifth in the Evo-Stik Premier Division after completing only one of their last three league fixtures, following the postponement at Whitby Town last Saturday due to a waterlogged pitch, and the abandonment due to floodlight failure at Hucknall Town a fortnight ago.

North Ferriby have lost just two of their last 12 league fixtures – and recently defeated leaders FC Halifax 2-0 on their own turf. The Villagers’ 4-0 home win over Frickley Athletic on Tuesday moved them above Buxton into fourth place, a match witnessed by Bucks boss John Reed.

“They are a very exceptional football team and they pass the ball for fun,” Reed said yesterday (Wednesday). “We are going to have to make sure we work extra hard, close them down and try and stop them from playing the neat and fancy football that I saw against Frickley.

“They are a dangerous opposition. It is going to be a difficult game, but our lads have been fantastic since we came back after Christmas, so a great game is in prospect.”

Faced with financial constraints and a punishing end-of-season league run-in, Reed has also hinted that he may be ready to rotate his team selection.

“It is getting harder for us and the games are piling up,” he added. “My only concern is a shortage of numbers, especially if we pick up a couple of injuries. We have a good squad of 18 players and it is going to be a big ask to expect them to play all of the remaining 20-odd games, so I will be having to change things around.

“Financially, I can’t (bring in any more players). If we pick up some injuries I, like every other manager, will approach the chairman, but at this moment in time we will run with what we have got and keep our fingers crossed that the lads all stay fit.”

Next Tuesday, January 25, Buxton travel to Skelmersdale United in the Evo-Stik League Challenge Cup (kick-off 7.45pm).