It’s straight back to it for Spartans as we host 15th place Buxton, who’ve largely had a disappointing season this term after finishing just 1 point off the play offs last season. That being said, they have managed to net a fair few goals this season and their away form has been canny, winning 3 of their last 5 games on the road.

The lads will no doubt be wanting to avenge the humiliating 3-0 defeat from August, as well as the 3-0 humping they inflicted upon us late last season.

Match tickets and admission information can be found here.

Diego De Girolamo will be Buxton’s main attacking threat having scored 10 goals in his 22 appearances for The Bucks this season and has recently made his 100th appearance for the club. The former Italy Under-20 will be difficult to deal with as he’s a pacey player who’s canny on the ball for this level, and can of course finish. He appears to have been benched in their last 2 games though, so not sure what’s happened there.

Elsewhere in the side midfielder Sam Osborne will be a pain to deal with. He can play on either wing and should be able do anyone we stick at full back for pace. A pure flair player who’s netted 8 goals across 22 games this year, he’ll need to dealt with having already seen how much damage he can do. Dylan Mottley-Henry and Jake Wright will also be involved in some capacity, though neither have really set the league alight this season.

At the back Zaine Francis-Angol has been rather good this year. The former Hartlepool player is an attacking threat from the LWB position and it’ll be a difficult task keeping him quiet. He definitely was a challenge earlier in the season down at their place.

Goalkeeper Joe Young has recently just joined on loan from Wolves and in his 4 games for the game he’s kept 3 clean sheet which is impressive, though he did ship 6 goals against Warrington Town last week.

Admittedly I’ll be interested to see if they bring many away fans ups. Both times we’ve been down there in the last 2 seasons, they’ve been unbearable Jake Bugg lookalikes who constantly tried it on with us before hiding behind the stewards. Going off the lack of away support in last season’s games at CP though, they seem to be a home only mob.

Spartans absentee’s are yet to be confirmed, but I’d expect it to be same list as Tuesday night. That being JJ O’Donnell and Alex Mitchell out with long term injures with Michael Liddle out for the next few weeks. The status of Joe Oliver, JJ Hooper and Jordan Cook is as of yet unknown, however if they missed Tuesday’s game you’d have to presume they’ll be a scratch for Saturday as well.

Jon Shaw may have a bit of a selection headache come Saturday. He’ll need to decide between the 5-3-2 or 5-4-1 formations that we’ve deployed for most of the season, or go with the 4-3-3 that we used on Tuesday night. Billy Gordon may also be in contention for a start at the weekend as well, given his performance on Tuesday.

Fan Info

Prior to the game we’ll be hosting another collection for Blyth Foodbank in the Spartans Clubhouse between 12pm and 3pm. At this time of year the foodbanks resources can be stretched thin due to the amount of people that have to rely them, so any donations would be greatly appreciated.

The clubhouse will be showing the Man City vs Everton game live on TNT Sports which kicks off at 12:30pm, so feel free to come down early for a pint and pie!

After the Blyth game they’ll have the egg chasing on, as England take on Wales in the 6 nations from 4:45pm. The fans MOTM presentation will also be done in the club after the game as well.

Elsewhere in and around the club, the burger van will open serving scran from 1pm onwards. I’d recommend bringing cash down for that one as you tend to get served a bit faster. The club shop will be open from 1:30pm as well.

Ref Watch

The referee for Saturday’s game is Derbyshire based Harry Jones. Now, that’s slightly odd as with him seemingly being affiliated with the Derbyshire FA and Buxton being members of the Derbyshire FA, I’m 99.99999% sure that isn’t actually allowed. A look on his LinkedIn suggests he’s based less than 30 miles away from Buxton as well which should be a big no no at this level.

In reality though, I doubt he’s a secret Buxton super fan. There’s a high chance that his appointment is more than likely just down to sheer incompetence on behalf of the decision makers at this level of football.

He seems to be a bit card happy at times, though I can’t find a great deal of complaints about him online. He did do the Banbury game earlier in the season and I can’t recall him making any errors or any strange decisions.

Betting Preview

The bookies have us as very slim favourites for this one. I’d be tempted to agree with them and if Harry Gardiner can get a bit more support and Thompson and McGowan get a chance to chip in with an effort or 2, I can see Spartans winning 2-1 or 3-1.

Our form over the last 6 games is the third worst in the league, but I’m hoping we can take the momentum gained from Tuesday night and smash a few goals past these to get closer to that magical 50 point mark.

See you at the match!