SECOND-bottom Whitby Town visit old adversaries Frickley Athletic on Bank Holiday Monday (2 Jan), desperate to bridge a nine-point gap between themselves and Evo-Stik Premier safety, writes Andrew Snaith.
Peter Rinkcavage’s men have lost their last four outings, but stand four places and 13 points ahead of the Blues, who go into the match with just one win from their last 15 games. The West Yorkshire side have found goals a problem this season with only third-bottom Stocksbridge and basement club Burscough netting fewer than their 31 from 26 league clashes.
Five of the last six encounters between the two teams have been draws, though Town will be hoping to follow on from their last away game – a 2-1 win at Greater Manchester outfit Ashton United, thanks to goals from Jimmy Beadle and Ibby Hassan.
The White Rose rivals have already met this season, when Lincoln Adams’ 95th-minute headed equaliser, at the Turnbull Ground, cancelled out Matty Tymon’s opener and denied the Seasiders all three points in August.
Influential centre-half Kevin Burgess has now served a two-match suspension for his sending-off against Nantwich Town at the start of the month. However, the former Darlington defender has suffered a wrist strain during work and could miss up to six weeks with the injury.
The Blues are still awaiting the return of ex-Middlesbrough marksman Andy Campbell (calf injury), who’s expected back at the end of January, with midfielder Dave McTiernan (groin) keen to follow.
A supporters’ coach leaves the Turnbull Ground at 11.45am bound for Athletic’s Westfield Lane ground, with seats just £10 each.
Elsewhere on Monday, the two sides directly above the Seasiders meet when Buxton entertain Stocksbridge Park Steels, Burscough visit Kendal and Mickleover, who stand on the other side of the relegation divide, entertain Matlock Town.
After the trip, Town face three successive home games in three consecutive Saturdays.
Midland schemers Chasetown visit Upgang Lane on Saturday 7, followed by Lakes’ side Kendal Town and Marine on the 21st.