BY Stephen Burton
In association with LV BET
After a disrupted start to 2021, Blyth Spartans are set for their first match of the New Year as they visit Mill Farm to take on promotion favourites AFC Fylde on Saturday.
It’ll be Michael Nelson men’s first match since December 28th following postponements against Gateshead and Alfreton Town.
Dan Wilson, Jamie Sharman and Jack McKay could finally make their debuts after last weekend’s postponement against Alfreton.
Jim Bentley’s side currently sit third in National League North with 27 points from 14 games, and are in good form having won three of their previous four league games.
Their last outing was a 2-0 win away to AFC Telford United with a goal in each half from Jordan Hulme and Jack Sampson.
Fylde were relegated from the National League on points per game last season, so are hoping for an immediate return at the first time of asking.
A familiar face in the Coasters’ ranks is Jack Sanders. The defender played 12 times for Blyth whilst on loan from Wigan Athletic last season.
WHAT WE’RE SAYING
Speaking after the heavy defeat to Darlington, Nelson said: “We’ve got to react and go again.
“I’ve told them I don’t expect them to be the best team on the pitch week-in week-out, but I expect them to work harder than the other team and too many times this season we haven’t done that.”
“When we do work hard and do dig in and put good performance in, we tend to come out with something.”
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Fylde assistant manager Nick Chadwick is expecting a tough test when the two sides meet.
“I watched Blyth play quite a few times last season,” he told the club’s YouTube channel. They were committed, had a lot of fight in their camp and at times played some good football.
“Every game has been tough for us. We have to concentrate on our own performance and what we’re good at and how we can hurt the opposition.
“We’ll respect the opposition. The analysis and preparation is the same. We expect a tough game and we have to be ready for it.”
LAST TIME WE MET
The last time the sides met was way back in April 2014 in the Northern Premier League.
Spartans returned from their trip to Kellamergh Park – Fylde’s old stadium – empty handed as Fylde ran out 5-1 winners, with Arjun Purewal grabbing a consolation for Spartans.
AFC Fylde: Hinchliffe, Hankin, Sumner, Langley, Russell, Hughes (Booth 46), Barnes, Winter, Blinkhorn (Mullen 83), Cooke (Noon 74), Lloyd Subs not used: Gregory, Charnley
Goals: Barnes 15, Winter, Lloyd 50 pen and 84, Mullen 88
Blyth Spartans: Grant, Purewal, Buddle (Cummings 73), Parker, Watson, Wade, Robinson, Hooks (Hutchinson 82), Horner, Davis (Wearmouth 63), Dale Subs not used: Bonket Scorers: Purewal 77
Referee: Peter Gooch
LIVE STREAM / BLYTH LIVE
Alternatively, Niall Bromley and Russell Wynn will be in place at Mill Farm to bring you live commentary, via Blyth Live. Coverage gets underway from 2:50pm. You can listen by clicking HERE.