Nuneaton Town travel to Tamworth on New Years Day for a 15:00 kick-off against their local rivals, just six days after convincingly beating them 4-1 at the LDJ Solicitors Stadium. Dino Maamria will have to make some enforced changes to that side though as Tom Elliott and Ryan Beswick are suspended following their dismissals at Kidderminster just prior to Christmas.
Billy Daniels looks likely to come in to the starting 11 where he will possibly be joined by one of the recent signings Andre Olukanmi or Kairo Mitchell. The two new additions both came through the youth ranks of recent Premier League Champions Leicester City. With Kyle McFarlane's loan ending there may also be a space in the matchday squad for Kidderminster Harriers defender Kennedy Digie, who joined on a month long loan on Friday.
Tamworth are still blighted by the injury bug and will be without defenders Jack Lane, Sam Coulson and Regan Upton. Lambs' Manager Andy Morrell admitted in an interview with the Birmingham Mail that “We are not having a great time of it but we are still in and around it. I firmly believe the players back me and are behind me with what we are trying to do. I am going to continue to try my hardest to make it work. Two wins and we are right back in it. There’s no better time to start that fight back than at home to Nuneaton.”
Morrell will need to get a reaction from his side and is expected to make some changes to the 11 that started at Liberty Way on Boxing Day. Drew Ricketts, a youth team product that scored the winner last time Tamworth tasted victory, is expected to start along with York City midfielder Theo Wharton. Both players came off the bench at half time last week and contributed to a more solid looking unit in the second period.
Boro's last visit to The Lamb Ground finished 2-1 on Boxing Dayin 2016. Jordan Nicholson scored the winner that day and this match will mark the end of his current loan spell, in which he has scored six times. Tamworth's recent defensive record makes encouraging reading for Nuneaton, conceding 20 times in the past seven games. The Lambs' only win in that seven match stretch was a 4-3 victory away to Bradford Park Avenue. Top scorer Darry Knights has eight goals so far this season, though he hasn't found the back of the net since scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win away to Darlington in the middle of November.
There have been 11 meetings between the two sides over the past decade and Nuneaton are well on top over that period, winning eight, drawing two and losing just once. That lone defeat came at The Lamb Ground in January 2013 as the Boro' had a man sent off early in the second half, allowing Tamworth to come from behind for a 2-1 win. Nuneaton have won four straight against The Lambs but only two of their previous five trips up the A5.