On Saturday we welcome Leek Town to the Skuna Stadium for their first ever visit to Alder Street.
Leek are one of the big boys in the division, having finished last season in 7th place in the Southern Division. 20 years ago they were competing in the Vauxhall Conference, the highest tier of non-league football. 30 years ago they also made it to Wembley in an FA Trophy final.
Neil Baker’s men currently sit in 6th position in the table, recent form has been a mixed bag, having beat Radcliffe they then lost their local derby with Kidsgrove Athletic to a very late Kyle Diskin goal. Last week, in another big game, Leek ran out all square with Runcorn Linnets in front of another 400+ crowd at Harrison Park.
A number of cup replays has seen Leek accumulate a couple of games in hand on the teams above them in the table. After needing a replay to beat Northern Counties East Division One side Parkgate in the FA Cup, Leek were presented with a glamour tie away at Conference North leaders Chorley. The Magpies winning 3-0 with three first half goals in a game played in front of over 700 people.
With Leek boasting the league’s tightest defence, and not just by virtue of least games played, and Colls being the highest scoring team we expect this to be the contest that will define the game. Their manager last week bemoaned the fact no one had been able to connect with loose balls in areas they’d been instructed to target, Clive Smith and Gaz Peet should be alert!
Danger men for Leek are the exciting young forward Aaron Bott, with 12 league goals to his credit this season and Robert Stevenson sits just behind him on 11. Leek also have experienced British Virgin Islands striker Jordan Johnson and former Liverpool starlet Dan Trickett-Smith, once described as the future of LFC, has returned to the side following a spell out with injury.
Colls won the game earlier in the season with a very early Tom Bentham goal, a well placed sidefoot from the edge of the box, nestling perfectly just inside the far post, beyond the keeper’s finger tips. The rest of the game was a tight affair with Leek showing plenty of quality on the ball but not being able to unlock the Colls defence.
Date: 2nd February 2019
Postcode – M46 9EY