Boss’s eyes are on the defence as leaders Midgley face strugglers

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Midgley United, whose lead in the Halifax AFL is down to three points, will be hoping to confirm their superiority over next-to-bottom Sowerby United on Saturday.

Craig Gee’s side head to Ryburn School having crushed Sowerby 6-0 with the help of a George Bamford hat-trick on November 1.

Midgley were thwarted by the weather last weekend when their home derby with Hebden Royd Red Star was called off due to a waterlogged pitch at 10.45am.

The first team squad trained on the astroturf at Luddenden Dene and then watched the reserves win 1-0 away to Greetland seconds.

Victory took the seconds up to fourth in Division One but they were made to sweat by Greetland, who are yet to pick up a point in 15 attempts.

Midgley played well for the opening 30 minutes in a game played in a strong cross wind at Goldfields.

Toby Standring and Jake Shaw both rattled the woodwork and when Tom Booth missed a couple of chances they started to get anxious.

So they were relieved when James Yates struck home a low 20-yarder on 75 minutes.

Midgley’s first team had lost 5-4 away to Warley Rangers the previous week and Gee believes they cannot afford more slips if they are to have a chance of being champions.

Looking ahead to the Sowerby game Gee said: “Getting a clean sheet is the first job.”

Central defender Joe Gibson will be missing again with a knee injury and Booth, who played 60 minutes for the reserves in his second match back after ankle surgery, will remain out of the first team picture for a while longer.

One player who should return from injury on Saturday is utility player Danny Pullen.

Hebden Royd Red Star are without a game this weekend while Calder ‘76 travel to take on title favourites Stump Cross at Shroggs Park.

The top two sides in Division One are due to play in the Calder Valley on Saturday.

Leaders Holmfield travel to play Calder 76 Reserves while Mixenden United, also strong fancies for promotion, tackle Midgley Reserves.

Calder, who won 3-1 at home to Stainland United last week with a Gav Martin hat-trick, only lost the first meeting with Holmfield 2-1.

Midgley have won five out of six on home soil this season.

Hebden Royd Red Star Reserves go to Sowerby Bridge Reserves in Division Two.

Saturday fixtures

Premier Division: Copley United v Ryburn United (ref R.Gatenby), Elland United v Greetland AFC (A.Williams), Sowerby United v Midgley United (M.Beard), Stump Cross v Calder 76 (TBA), Warley Rangers Halifax v Northowram (R.Walker).

Division One: Calder 76 Res v Holmfield AFC (D.Cartwright), Greetland AFC Res v Elland Allstars (P.Higgins), Midgley United Res v Mixenden United (P.Crabtree), Ryburn United Res v Denholme United (P.Bowe), Salem v AFC Crossleys (I.Childs), Volunteer Arms v Hx Irish Centre (A.Gee).

Division Two: AFC Crossleys Res v Salem Res (J.Hallos), Denholme United Res v St Columbas (C.Salmons), Northowram Res v Sowerby United Res (N.Hinson), Shelf FC v West Central FC (A.Kay), Shelf United Res v Brighouse Sports AFC (D.Sutcliffe), Sowerby Bridge Res v Hebden Royd Red Star Res (S.Hoyle).

Halifax FA Albert Crabtree Cup, semi-final: Ovenden WR v Illingworth St Marys (W.Cotton).