On their day, Alfreton Town can definitely be considered one of the more dangerous opponents in the Blue Square Bet Premier this season, writes Mike Simmonds.
Capable of pulling some tremendous results out of the bag, they have already despatched Luton 3-0 back in September, while winning at the likes of Lincoln City and Macclesfield.
Recently, manager Nicky Law masterminded a 4-2 triumph against all the odds at Wrexham in the FA Cup, while leaders Newport County found just what a tough proposition the Reds can be, losing 4-3 in the league last month.
Consistency has been the main bugbear for Law’s side though as they haven’t been able to string a run of results together, and head into Saturday’s game without a win in three.
To be fair, the latest defeat came against League One side Leyton Orient in the FA Cup second round, a game that Alfreton impressed in greatly, hitting the woodwork on no less than four occasions and were desperately unlucky to be knocked out.
Before that, they were sent on their way by Kidderminster in the FA Trophy 3-1, and prior the defeat, drew 1-1 at the league’s in-form side Hyde.
Away from home, Law has made his 16th-placed side tough to beat, with four wins, three draws and three losses so far this campaign.
The Reds made some signings before the loan window shut with young midfielder Danny Emerton joining from Hull City until January, while former Ireland U19 international Gavan Holohan signed after being released by the Tigers and spending time on trial at Carlisle and Hibernian.
Law has moved to extend the loan of central midfield player and ex-Luton Town academy player Matthew Harriott who will remain at the Impact Arena until January 6.
Meanwhile, striker Anthony Wilson, who scored twice against Luton this season has left the club this week, joining North Ferriby United for an undisclosed fee.
The 25-year-old had been unable to claim a regular starting shirt this season and recently completed a month’s loan with the Evo-Stik League Premier Division club.
Team news: Hatters welcomed back Jon Shaw and James Dance to the starting line-up in midweek, while manager Paul Buckle is hopeful that Dean Beckwith has recovered from a broken nose, although Alex Lacey is out with the same injury.
Danny Spiller and Garry Richards still remain sidelined though.
Alfreton report a fully fit squad with no injuries or suspensions.
Top BSBP scorer: Hatters - Stuart Fleetwood (10). Reds - Paul Clayton 8.
Man in the middle: Wayne Barratt - Official has taken 12 games this season, showing 27 yellow cards and one red.
Officiated one game at Kenilworth Road already, the 3-2 home win over Cambridge United, while his last game in the Conference was a month ago, coincidentally at Alfreton, when they defeated Newport County 4-3.
Took one Hatters match last year as well, the 1-1 draw at home with AFC Telford.
In charge: Nicky Law - Successful playing career began at Arsenal and represented England at schoolboy level.
The central defender then had spells at Barnsley, Blackpool, Plymouth Argyle, Notts County, Scarborough, Rotherham United, Chesterfield and Hereford United, amassing over 500 league appearances.
He was made football in the community officer with Chesterfield before taking over as manager from John Duncan in the spring of 2000.
Led them automatic promotion from League Two in 2000-01, until moving on to Bradford City, Grimsby Town and Buxton.
Appointed boss of Alfreton on May 14, 2007, leading the club into their first spell in the Conference the season before last.
View from the opposition: Boss Nicky Law is now looking to transfer his side’s FA Cup form into the league as he said: “We have gone toe to toe with a League One side and with a bit of better decision making and a bit more luck we could have won.
“Hopefully the lads can revisit that performance in the league.”
“It was crucial we came out with credit and I think we did that. We did ourselves proud and can hold our heads up high
One to watch: Leading scoring Paul Clayton has managed 10 goals in all competitions so far this season, including an impressive eight from 17 appearances in the league.
The 28-year-old is in a rich vein of form now as after managing just two goals in his first 13 games, has now got six from six, including braces in the wins over Wrexham and Newport.
Friendly faces: Alfreton’s recent loan signing from Sheffield United Matthew Herriott came through the ranks at Luton Town, but never made a first team appearance for the Hatters.
We’ve got form: Hatters enjoyed a 1-0 victory over Alfreton Town in the last clash at Kenilworth Road courtesy of George Pilkington’s 39th minutes penalty.
Hatters: Mark Tyler, Dan Gleeson, George Pilkington, Jake Howells, Janos Kovacs, Greg Taylor, Alex Lawless, Robbie Willmott (Aaron O’Connor 72), Craig McAllister, Danny Crow (Stuart Fleetwood 65), Adam Watkins (Godfrey Poku 64).
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