FA TROPHY HOLDERS 2015 & NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH PLAY-OFF CHAMPIONS 2016

NFU v Brackley Town (NLN)

Vanarama National League North
 NFU v Brackley Town

Saturday 23 January 2016
 Kick-off 3.00 pm

Second-placed Ferriby entertain relegation-threatened Brackley  Town at the Eon Visual Media Stadium on Saturday.

Brackley  are one place above the drop zone on goal difference from Corby Town and will be desperate for at least a point on Saturday. They have one of the lowest goals for re cord in the division but are often difficult to break down in defence. They have yet to win away from home in the league and will find it difficult to break that record against The Villagers.

Unlike Ferriby, Brackley played last Saturday and gained a confidence boosting 4-0 home win over fellow strugglers FC United of Manchester. With just six points separating the clubs between 11th and 20th in the division a win or defeat can make a big difference to league placings.

The Villagers have the highest-scoring attack in the Vanarama National League with 55 goals in their 25 games. They also have three players in the top scorers list. Liam King is second in the goal-scoring charts with 13 goals, followed by Tom Denton (11 goals) and Curtis Bateson (10 goals). With other players regularly chipping-in with goals, Ferriby are a difficult to defend against.

The Villagers go in to the Brackley game having had a blank Saturday due to the postponement of the Hednesford game. Ferriby’s last outing was a fine win at league leaders Solihull Moors. It was one of Ferriby’s best displays as they played Moors off the pitch. The home side could not cope with Ferriby’s pressure and always looked second best. A superb team performance was rounded off by clinical finishing from Denton and Bateson.

Brackley and Ferriby have met five times with the first four games ending in 1-1 draws. The reverse fixture earlier in the season saw Ferriby win 4-2.

The promotion race is becoming a six-horse race. Solihull probably remain favourites at the moment as they are four points ahead  of Ferriby.The other current contenders are AFC Fylde, Nuneaton, Boston and Harrogate. In what will undoubtedly be a tight finish, it may come down to goal difference and The Villagers and Solihull have by far the best goal-differences (+27) in the division.

The tightness of the teams at the top is best shown by Nuneaton who were top at the end of December and are now down in fifth place.

Ferriby Manager Billy Heath comments,

“It was frustrating to not play last Saturday but it does allow players to re-charge their batteries.

“We need to put in a good performance against Brackley. They will have gained a little bit of confidence after their win last Saturday but they are still in desperate trouble at the bottom of the table.

“Both sides need the points for totally different reasons on Saturday and it will be a difficult game.”

Ben Middleton sits out the game due to a one game suspension. This will probably mean a starting place for Sam Topliss and may see Danny Hone return to the squad.

NFU squad: Tom Nicholson, Adam Nicklin, Sam Topliss, Josh Wilde, Ash Palmer, Mark Gray, Danny Hone, Liam King, Russ Fry, Adam Bolder, Danny Clarke, Danny Emerton, Ryan Kendall, Curtis Bateson, Nathan Hotte

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