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11 months ago By Stevie R

After a series of set-backs in recent games Blues will be looking to the derby clash with Kidsgrove to kick-start their faltering campaign.

Town travel to the Novus Stadium on the back of a run of just one win in seven games since the turn of the year.

Grove are not pulling up any trees with their recent form either with just three wins in their last ten games, however they can point to two wins over Leek already this season, having won 1-0 at Harrison Park in the league and 2-1 at home in the Integro Cup.

Blues recent record in derby matches is not great, but they are unbeaten in their last three league visits to the Novus Stadium with two draws in the last two seasons and 3-1 win in 2014/15 when Tim Grice netted a hat-trick.

Neil Baker is faced with the task of lifting his side after the capitulation in the last 10 minutes against Alvechurch on Tuesday when a 3-0 lead evaporated into a 3-3 draw.

Baker says it was a perfect opportunity to make a big statement to the other play-off hopefuls, but admits his team blew it, telling the Sentinel:

“It’s not the first time that has happened to us this season. We were well in control of the game and heading for three points, but once we lost our second player I knew we were in trouble,” said the manager.

“It was the lowest I have felt all season. It hurts, but there is no point in moping around for too long afterwards. We’ve got another game coming up on Saturday and we need to prepare for that.”

Baker confirmed both Hall and Maguire will be available for the Kidsgrove game, but expects both to receive bans.

“Sam is likely to be a couple of games because he was sent off earlier in the season for Nantwich, while Niall will probably be three games, it was a straight red, but I don’t have any complaints with either sending off.

“Sam had already been booked and although some say he got the ball, he went into the tackle from the side to make it easy for the referee to make a decision. Niall pushed the player over, it was an easy decision for the ref, so we are going to lose two players at a crucial time of the season.

“I am always on at players to keep their discipline and Tuesday night was a classic example of why,” said Baker who confirmed both players will be dealt with under the club’s code of conduct.

He added: “If we had kept 11 on the pitch and saw the game out it would have sent out a message and put us in a good position, but now we move on to Saturday’s derby at Kidsgrove and that won’t be easy, they never are.”

Joe Kearns is the only injury doubt after coming off on Tuesday night.

Updated 09:32 - 11 Feb 2018 by Stevie R

Where next?

THREE IN A ROW DOUBLED UP Blues drew their third game of the week with a 1-1 draw in the derby at Kidsgrove Athletic.
MAGUIRE PLAYS HERO AND VILLAIN A sensational game at Harrison Park on Tuesday night saw Leek Town and Alvechurch share the points in a 3-3 draw.


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