Ilkeston FC v North Ferriby United
Evostik Northern Premier League Premier Division
Saturday 6 April 2013 KO 3.00 pm
Leaders Ferriby will be looking for three points against mid-table Ilkeston FC to maintain their lead as the title race hots-up. Ferriby go into this game five points clear of second-placed Hednesford who have a game in hand.
Ilkeston have little more than pride to play for but they are certain to provide a tough test for The Villagers.
This will be the fourth match in eight days for both clubs. Ferriby may have a slight advantage as they played on Wednesday night whilst Ilkeston played on Thursday.
Ferriby clinched their second cup final spot of the season on Wednesday when they defeated a spirited Cammell Laird side 2-1 in the Doodson Sport Cup. This gives Ferriby the chance to become only the third club to retain the trophy. They play Curzon Ashton in the final at a date and venue to be decided.
Manager Billy Heath is delighted that his team have reached two cup finals but the club's main focus still remains promotion to the Blue Square Bet Conference North. Heath said, "I was pleased with the result against Cammell Laird although we did not perform as well as we could. We made a lot of changes for this game due to having three league matches in eight days. It was necessary to limit the risk of fatigue and possible injuries at a crucial time.
"Ilkeston will provide a stern test on Saturday. They have improved as the season has progressed and will certainly be looking for a good result against one of the leading sides."
Ferriby go into the game with a ten game unbeaten run behind them and will be looking to keep this going. The Villagers are in the driving seat but know a couple of poor results could change all that.
It is difficult to predict the title race but it now seems a three-way fight between Ferriby, Hednesford Town and FC United of Manchester. AFC Fylde will still feel they have a chance of joining this particular party but they have 10 games to play between now and the end of the season. Fylde and Hednesford play each other on the final day so only one of them is in a position to take maximum points from their closing games.
Heath should have a full squad to select from on Saturday. Danny Clarke is the only injury doubt.
Possible Ferriby squad: Adam Nicklin, Paul Robson, Nathan Peat, Liam King, Gregg Anderson, Paul Foot, Mark Gray, Russell Fry, Danny Clarke, Chris Bolder, Ryan Williams, Anthony Wilson, Ryan Kendall, Gary Bradshaw, Steve Ridley, Rob Youhill, Jason Stokes, Antoni Pecora
There will be a double presentation before Ferriby's home game against Nantwich next Saturday. Billy Heath will be presented with the March manager of the Month award, his third of the season. The club will be presented with the March Jungle Drum Fair Play award for March.