Vanarama National League North
FC United of Manchester v North Ferriby United

Saturday 27 February 2016
 Kick-off 3.00 pm

Third-placed Ferriby travel to FC United of Manchester’s new ground, Broadhurst Park, on Saturday. This is a game that is crucial for both sides. The Villagers will be looking  for victory after gaining only two point from the last four games. This dip in form has seen their promotion rivals close the gap and it is now very tight at the top of the National League North.

Solihull lead the table four points ahead of Harrogate. The Villagers are a further four points behind , level on points with Boston but with a much better goal difference. AFC Fylde are fifth and Nuneaton sixth, two and three points, respectively behind The Villagers.

Ferriby are now joint top-scorers with Solihull. The only goal in the last four games has been a Liam King penalty and it is five matches since The Villagers have score from open play.

Manager Billy Heath is concerned but not over-worried,

“It’s frustrating that we are not scoring at the moment. It’s not easy to work-out why. Perhaps we have lost a little confidence in front of goal or perhaps we are trying to be over-elaborate. We probably just need to put our foot through the ball when we are shooting rather than try to place the ball in to the goal.

“I told the players after Saturday’s game (against Curzon Ashton) that I’d be more concerned if we were not creating chances but we are certainly doing that. We had 22 attempts on goal on Saturday and their keeper gave a man-of-the-match performance.”

FC United have struggled in their first season at this level. They are two plces and four points above the relegation zone. They have a reasonable scoring record with 44 goals but have struggled defensively at times.

The reverse fixture at the Eon Visual Media Stadium saw The Villagers take the points with a last-minute goal from Danny Clarke. FC United gained a notable victory recently when they beat Harrogate 4-3 at Broadhurst Park after trailing 3-0.

However, they go in to Saturday’s game on the back of a 5-0 defeat at Harrogate when the sides met in the reverse fixture. There will undoubtedly be large crowd as FC average 3286 at home this season. Crowds that size at this level can be intimidating for visiting clubs but Ferriby have often been able to lift their game in front of such crowds. They certainly need to do that on Saturday.

Ferriby Manager Billy Heath further comments,

“They will have a large crowd behind them on Saturday but we have dealt with that before. We haven’t always had the best of results against them but past results count for nothing. It is up to us to do a job on the day. The players will definitely be up for the game.

“It’s tighter than ever for a play-off spot but we know we are good enough on our day to beat anybody in this division and we are still capable of being in the play-offs.”

Heath should have a full squad to choose from.

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


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