Dino Maamria takes his Nuneaton Town side to Shropshire on Saturday to face AFC Telford United in a match that could have massive ramifications at the bottom of the table. Whilst the Boro' have been climbing the National League North in recent weeks, their hosts have been sliding in the opposite direction.
Telford's most recent match saw them entertain York City, and the Bucks quickly found themselves in a hole, trailing 4-1 at half-time. Former Wolves striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake scored a brace for a more respectable 5-3 full-time scoreline. Those three goals ended a streak of three matches in which Telford failed to find the back of the net.
United are managed by former Welsh International defender Rob Edwards, who has been busy strengthening his squad this month. First off he went back to his former club, Wolverhampton Wanderers, to bring in young compatriot Ryan Leak on loan. That move was followed by the purchase of Ellis Deeney from Tamworth. The former Worcester City Captain, who made his debut in Tuesday's defeat, was part of the Lambs' side that lost 4-1 at Liberty Way on Boxing Day.
Top-scorer for Telford this season is Marcus Dinanga, on loan from Championship side Burton Albion. The 20 year-old frontman scored 34 times for Matlock Town last season and has 13 in all competitions so far this term. Ebanks-Blake, who signed in November 2017, has, so far, scored four times, including a debut brace against Droylsden in the FA Trophy.
Since a 2-0 win, away to North Ferriby United two months ago, Telford have just one league victory in a stretch that had seen them play nine times. That relatively baron spell has seen them drop from 12th in the table to 19th, just one point above the bottom three, though they do have games in hand on most of the teams around them.
The Boro' have won three of their last four visits to New Bucks Head and have scored nine times in their previous two trips to Telford. Last seasons meeting ended in a 4-2 victory for Nuneaton with two goals apiece from Greg Mills and Jordan Nicholson. The Peterborough loanee has ten league goals to his name so far this year, including scoring in both of the Boro's current two game win streak.
Anthony Dwyer opened the scoring for the Lillywhites as they won 2-0 at the LDJ Solicitors Stadium back in September. Niall Heaton's own goal gave the result a look of comfort that it probably didn't deserve as Ashley Chambers had a goal ruled out. Prior to that result, Telford hadn't beaten Nuneaton in any of their meetings over the past three seasons. Can the Bucks find another, much needed, win, or will the Boro' reassert their recent domination on Saturday?