Tom makes a timely return to action

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Strike ace Tom Booth is set to make his first team comeback for Midgley United after an absence of several months on Saturday.

Booth has had ankle surgery after suffering a bad injury late last season and his return to full fitness is a timely tonic for the Halifax AFL leaders.

The big fixtures keep coming thick and fast for Midgley, who registered a fine 2-1 win away to another of the leading sides, Greetland, last weekend.

Craig Gee’s side, six points clear at the top, head to third-placed Northowram, who have made a fine return to the top flight as Division One champions.

Booth has had a couple of outings for the reserves and will lead the line on Saturday.

His usual strike partner George Bamford is unavailable but Gee said: “Boothy would have started anyway.

“He has done okay and it has probably suited him that so many games have been called off.

“He has been able to train on Saturdays and Wednesdays. If we had been playing he would have run the risk of picking up knocks.”

It has not all been plain sailing for Booth recently. He was sent off for two yellow card offences in the reserves’ 3-2 home defeat by Salem in Division One last Saturday so will have to serve a one-game ban further down the line.

Centre back Joe Gibson will be another absentee on Saturday as he awaits an appointment with a specialist over a leg injury.

Northowram lost 4-2 at home to reigning champions Ryburn United last week, having won their previous seven local league and cup games.

Hebden Royd Red Star gave a golden chance to get back to winning ways when they travel to bottom side Elland United.

Red Star were beaten 3-2 at Shelf United last Saturday and look destined for a mid-table finish in the Premier.

They will be expected to beat an Elland side they thrashed 9-3 in early October.

Calder ‘76 will be looking to follow Midgley’s lead and inflict a second defeat on Greetland in eight days.

Calder have ground advantage and will have high hopes of picking up at least a point against a side whose title chance may now have gone.

Midgley United Reserves and Calder ‘76 Reserves have a derby meeting tomorrow in Division One. The hosts will be out to avenge a 1-0 defeat in the season’s opener.

Premier Division: Calder 76 v Greetland AFC (ref D.Bartley), Copley United v Shelf United (P.Higgins)Elland United v Hebden Royd Red Star (D.Cartwright); Northowram v Midgley United (R.Gatenby), Ryburn United v Warley Rangers Halifax (W.Cotton), Sowerby United v Stump Cross (P.Bowe).

Division One: Denholme United v Elland Allstars (J.Hallos), Greetland AFC Res v Volunteer Arms (B.Payton), Holmfield AFC v Ryburn United Res (P.Crabtree), Hx Irish Centre v AFC Crossleys (I.Childs), Midgley United Res v Calder 76 Res (A.Kay), Salem v Sowerby Bridge (M.Beard), Stainland United v Mixenden United (S.Hoyle).

Division Two: AFC Crossleys Res v Northowram Res (M.Redmile), Illingworth St Marys v Sowerby United Res (C.Salmons), Shelf FC v Denholme United Res (S.Dennis), Shelf United Res v Salem Res (A.Gee), Sowerby Bridge Res v Brighouse Sports AFC (C.King), St Columbas v West Central FC (D.Sutcliffe).