Facing off against a Warrington side who sit just one spot below us in the league and on equal Spartans, Jon Shaw’s side will no doubt be looking to get back on track and finish what’s been a good month in strong fashion. A win here would also make it 3 wins this season over Warrington, and I honestly can’t recall the last time Blyth did that to a team.
Warrington have probably surprised a few this season having had many at the start of the season tip them to go down. Earlier in the season they moved on from long-time goalkeeper Tony Thompson, with 24-year-old former Hyde goalkeeper Daniel Atherton taking his place in the team. They also picked up former Liverpool and England full back/centre back Andre Wisdom, which has definitely gone down as one of the strangest transfer moves seen this season.
Winger/Striker Isaac Buckley-Ricketts will no doubt cause Spartans problems, depending on where he gets played. The former Man City youngster has 10 goals in 29 league games so far this season. Captain and forward John Amis missed their last 2 games, presumably through injury. He’s notched 6 goals in 17 games this year however his season has been rather stop start. Defender/defensive mid Mitch Dugan should still be suspended for this one, which would be a big miss for them.
That being said, they thrashed Buxton 6-0 on Tuesday night without him. Isaac Buckley-Ricketts scored a hattrick inside the last 20 minutes of the game as well. Across their last 6 games, Warrington have won 2, drawn 2 and lost 2.
Spartans may welcome back Harry Arnison on Saturday, as he spotted on Tuesday night at Croft Park. Admittedly I’ve no idea if that was just for some treatment or to train prior to the game. JJ O’Donnell, Alex Mitchell will still be missing with long term injuries. As for Joe Oliver, not a clue. Jordan Hickey may also be a scratch. Hopefully JJ Hooper is restored to the starting XI to resume his partnership with Harry Gardiner, as we really seemed to miss his presence at times on Tuesday.
Saturday’s ref is set to be Matthew McQuillan, who is taking charge of a game at Croft Park for the 1st time. He’s been known to flash the odd controversial red card now and then according to Twitter, so he clearly likes to make it about himself from time to time. Both AFC Fylde and Glossop have lodged complaints about him to the FA In recent years. He may be familiar to Dan Langley though, having once had him for a game in his NUFC U18 days.
Shy’s Pie’s will be back on in the club this Saturday and as per usual, the burger van will be active and selling scran from about 1pm onwards. The Club store should be open from 1:30pm as well.
After the game the club are trying out a new post-match thing, where the media team will be getting fans to vote for the Man Of The Match on Twitter before doing a presentation in the club after the game. Then from 7pm, they’ll be showing the Toon vs Fulham game in The FA Cup so hopefully win, lose or draw the club should be pretty lively after the game.
The bookies have us favourites, but only just. Given that both us and Warrington are both amongst the higher set of scorers in the league, it should be a bit of a lively affair but my gut says a 1-0 Blyth win to make it an even 10 points gained in January.