Blues face business end without experienced Pell

Whitby Town go into the busiest phase of the season, with four games squeezed into nine days, missing key defender Richard Pell.

Friday, 18th March 2016, 11:31 am
Updated Friday, 18th March 2016, 11:41 am
Richard Pell is facing a spell on the sidelines

"It's a bit of a blow", admitted manager Chris Hardy, whose side host 11th-placed Buxton, at the Turnbull Ground, on Saturday.

"I think it's still in the process of being diagnosed, but 21 days [out] is what I've been told." he added.

"I've been speaking with Bully [assistant boss Lee Bullock] and we're going to go looking in the transfer market and see what's available.

"Obviously, it's down to availability and what we can actually bring in, in terms of players actually being up for the challenge that we've got."

The Seasiders take on a Buxton side fresh from back-to-back wins over Town's relegation rivals Stamford and Marine, with ex-Blue Niall Doran on the score-sheet in a 2-1 victory over the Mariners, on Tuesday.

It's a fixture that has been notoriously closely-fought since Town's 5-1 thumping, at the Turnbull, in April 2010, under Harry Dunn. The corresponding games, in recent years, have seen a narrow 1-0 defeat for the Blues last January, in front of 366 people, two midweek wins, a 1-1 draw and a spectacular 4-3 reversal.

Admission, at the Turnbull Ground, on Saturday, remains free for under-16s who are accompanied by full-price-paying adults (£9), senior citizens pay £5 and under-18s £3. Kick-off is 3.00pm.

The Seasiders then start a run of three games in six days with a Tuesday night trip to Skelmersdale United, who Town have never beaten.

The North West club drew 2-2 at the Turnbull in the sides' first-ever meeting, in January 2014, before Tommy Lawson's men won a game Town led 2-1, by four goals to two.

Last season, they enjoyed 2-0 and 4-0 victories and they visit the Turnbull for a possibly-crucial final day encounter on Saturday 23rd April.

Only one side outside the Evo-Stik NPL Premier's top seven has won more than Skem's nine successes at home, in the league, this season. The 17th-placed outfit enjoyed a shock 3-1 victory, on Saturday, over promotion-chasing Salford City thanks to on-loan Accrington hat-trick hero Max Hazeldine.

By a bizarre quirk, Saturday sees eight of the bottom nine play each other. Hyde (16th) host Skelmersdale (17th), second-bottom Colwyn Bay are at home to Grantham Town (18th), bottom club Ramsbottom United visit third-bottom Mickleover Sports and fifth-from-bottom Stamford, who lead the Blues by a single point, after playing two games more, host Marine, who are just one place above them.