GATESHEAD v ALFRETON TOWN PREVIEW
Thursday Oct 10, 2013
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 12th, 3pm
by Matt Carter
Alfreton Town will be looking to bounce back on Saturday afternoon as they travel to Gateshead in the Skrill Premier.
Having surprisingly lost their unbeaten home record on Tuesday night against struggling Chester, the Reds will know that they must now improve on their away form which has seen them pick up just one win in six games.
Manager Nicky Law has brought in striker Jake Speight on a month's loan from Mansfield Town ahead of the game.
The trip to the North East, where the Reds have never done particularly well in the past, is made far more challenging by the fact that Alfreton are in the midst of an injury crisis which has seen the squad pulled to its bare bones. With central defender Nick Fenton already out serving a suspension, the backline has been further weakened by a shoulder injury to fellow centre back Michael Wylde sustained last time out and Bradley Wood broke a toe in the defeat against Chester in midweek.
Further to that striker Daniel Wishart was also forced from the field through a hamstring injury, and Lathaniel Rowe-Turner picked up a minor hamstring strain in training on Thursday night, in the process joining Chris Westwood and Paul Clayton on what is now an extensive injury list.
If that didn't make the Reds task difficult enough they are set to face a Gateshead side who are bang in form - picking up four wins in their last five outings, which has seen them recover from a stuttering start to climb to a respectable thirteenth position and just three points shy of Alfreton.
The sides met three times last season with Alfreton encouragingly coming out on top twice, although Gateshead won the only one of those contests to be played at the Gateshead International Stadium - clinching a 2-0 victory.
Given their injury problems and away record the Reds undoubtedly go into this one as underdogs, but as we saw with Chester's victory at the Impact Arena on Tuesday anything can happen in this league.
As well as that, Alfreton have shown plenty of quality this season to suggest that even with limited resources there is nobody they can't match - albeit even if their strongest showings to date have come at home.
Now under the management of former Reds boss Gary Mills, Gateshead are without full-back Carl Magnay (ankle) and midfield man Micky Cummins (broken hand) along with injured fringe players Luke O'Brien, Dan Smith and Joe Tait.
Mills has strengthened his options by bringing in left-sided defensive player Lewis Sirrell from Middlesbrough.
ATFC Supporters' Association transport for the game departs 9am and seats can be booked by contacting Mark Thorpe on 07857 558401.
Fixtures for Saturday, October 12th
Chester v Cambridge United
Forest Green Rovers v Macclesfield Town
Gateshead v ALFRETON TOWN
Hereford United v Dartford
Lincoln City v Aldershot Town
Luton Town v Hyde
Nuneaton Town v Braintree Town
Salisbury City v Grimsby Town
Southport v Kidderminster Harriers
Welling United v Tamworth
Woking v FC Halifax Town
Fixture for Sunday, October 13th
Barnet v Wrexham (2pm)