MATCH PREVIEW: Two games in three days

It must be Easter with Reds facing two difficult matches in three days in what will be a very demanding NPL West schedule.

They host play-off chasing Witton Albion on Saturday followed by the return fixture at Kidsgrove Athletic on Monday (both 3pm).

Bizarrely, it will be Danny Grainger’s first experience of an Easter double-header as a manager with his first two seasons at Borough Park curtailed because of the pandemic, ruling out the Saturday/Monday schedule during the ’19-20 and ’20-21 campaigns.

Reds’ Easter record over the years has been mediocre at best and they rarely collect maximum points over the two games.

They have only obtained two wins on four occasions during the non-league era, doing so twice in the NPL, once during the North West Counties season and once as a Conference club.

Their last maximum points haul was during the 2016-17 season with 1-0 victories recorded against Halesowen Town (home) and Nantwich Town (away).

Last year, we experienced a 2-1 defeat at Marine on the Saturday before emerging 2-0 winners v. Kendal Town forty-eight hours later with both games attracting bumper four-figure attendances.

The Marine game saw both Ben Hughes and Lewis Reilly on the score sheet – as opponents!

Facing Witton Albion at Borough Park has often proved difficult (they have lost just one of their nine most recent league visits to Cumbria) and Saturday will be no exception.  They need to win to maintain their late charge towards the play-offs whilst Reds require something from the game to rubber-stamp a top five finish.

We lost by the odd goal in five at their place back in August after a below-par display so will be hoping to make amends in what will be the 46th meeting between the clubs.

Monday will be as much of a test getting there as the actual ninety minutes on the grass with away games, via the M6, not much fun on a Bank Holiday.

Autonet Insurance Stadium

Kidsgrove have nothing other than pride to play for at the Autonet Insurance Stadium (ST7 1DQ) – a venue we have found difficult to win at over the years.  We came out on top in the home Boxing Day clash with Scott Allison (2) and Dan Wordsworth sharing the goals in a 3-0 success.

Danny has a near full squad available and is likely to utilise most of the players over the two games.

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