(Picture: The National League)
By Chris Fenwick
Southport will be looking to put a horror week behind them when they welcome league leaders Harrogate to Haig Avenue tonight.
After an impressive start to life in National League North – with Alan Lewer’s side climbing to third in the table at the end of August – the Sangrounders suffered a 6-0 thumping at Stockport County last Tuesday before being soundly beaten 3-0 at home by Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday.
Table-topping Harrogate are next in line, and Simon Weaver’s impressive side, who have bagged 29 goals from their ten league outings this term, will be hungry to exploit a shaky Port defence as they go for their fourth away win on the spin.
But the visitors will have to do it without their chief marksman, Simon Ainge – out for several months with knee ligament damage. And Weaver will also be without another striker with Sheffield United loanee Jake Wright missing out on the trip after picking up a knock in Saturday’s 5-1 win over AFC Telford at New Bucks Head.
Sitting second in the table behind Town on goal difference, Salford City are starting to meet the high expectations heaped on them at the start of the season.
After losing their opening game of the campaign 2-0 at home to Darlington, the pre-season favourites have regrouped, winning seven of the next nine. And while not possessing the firepower of Weaver’s Harrogate, there is a steely nature around the Moor Lane outfit – one of only two sides along with Brackley Town to have conceded less than ten goals in the campaign.
They welcome struggling Nuneaton Town, who are without a win in their last four.
Elsewhere, an inconsistent Telford side will be hoping to respond in front of their home fans after their heavy defeat against Harrogate on Saturday as they entertain an equally inconsistent Stockport.
North Ferriby, relegated from the National League last season, sit rooted to the bottom of the league and welcome another tough assignment with the visit of newly promoted Spennymoor.
Alfreton currently sit just outside the top-seven play-off places. But they face a stern test at North Street with Brackley the visitors – who will be searching for some of that early-season razzmatazz that saw them win their first five games.
Tamworth face up to Kidderminster, while improving York – fresh off the back of seeing off the Hatters at the weekend – play Gainsborough Trinity at Bootham Crescent.