Midgley chase final place

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Midgley United have major injury concerns as they bid to earn a long awaited cup final appearance on Saturday.

Jason Cartlidge (back), Andrew Butterworth (toe), Toby Standring (knee) and Tom Booth (ankle) are all concerns ahead of the Challenge Cup semi-final against Shelf United at Ryburn United’s ground (1.45).

Midgley are already without Joe Gibson, who was due to see a specialist today over his long-standing knee complaint.

Manager Craig Gee is hopeful that at least Standring, who plays out wide, and Booth, who forms a useful strike patrtnership with George Bamford, will shake off their knocks.

Butterworth fractured a metatarsal in the recent league win at Northowram and it is touch and go whether Midgley’s captain for the last four years will be able to play against Shelf.

“We will wait until Saturday but if he is not 100 per cent he will not play,” said Gee.

If Butterworth joins Gibson on the sidelines, Calum Rodgers and Rob Stansfield are likely to be centre backs.

Considering their league record in recent years, Midgley have been abject in the cups and Gee said a final appearance was long overdue.

He also said it was Midgley’s best hope for a first team trophy this year with Stump Cross showing no signs of faltering in their pursuit of Gee’s league leaders.

“We have to win our last seven games to have a chance and that is a big ask,” he said.

“The cup is in our own hands while the league isn’t.”

The winners of Saturday’s tie will meet either Warley Rangers - a bogey side for Midgley this season - or Northowram but Gee isn’t looking beyond Saturday.

Shelf have won all three league games, against Elland, Copley and Hebden Royd Red Star, since they returned after a lengthy break.

Gee, who has previously pointed out the threat posed by United front man Billy Grogan, said: “Shelf are a useful side and I expect it to be close.”

Hebden Royd Red Star are due to return to action after a week off with the toughest of matches against Stump Cross at White Lee Rec.

Calder ‘76, who lost 4-2 away to Stump last week, have another difficult trip away to title outsiders Warley Rangers.

In Division One, Midgley United Reserves face Volunteer Arms, who have the same points.

Calder ‘76 Reserves will hope to have the edge against Halifax Irish Centre on home soil after their bold showing in a 2-2 draw at Mixenden last weekend.

Hebden Royd Red Star Reserves will start underdogs away to St Columbas, who were also out of action last Saturday.

Saturday’s games - Premier Division: Elland United v Ryburn United (referee C Salmons), Hebden Royd Red Star v Stump Cross (P.Bowe), Sowerby United v Copley United (R.Gatenby), Warley Rangers Halifax v Calder 76 (N.Hinson).

Division One: AFC Crossleys v Holmfield AFC (J.Hallos), Calder 76 Res v Halifax Irish Centre (I.Childs), Greetland AFC Reserves v Stainland United (M.Beard), Midgley United Res v Volunteer Arms (M.Sharman), Salem v Denholme United (C.King), Sowerby Bridge v Mixenden United (P.Higgins).

Division Two: Brighouse Sports AFC v Denholme United Res (S.Adams), Illingworth St Marys v Sowerby Bridge Res (S.Hoyle), Shelf FC v Northowram Res (A.Gee), Shelf United Res v AFC Crossleys (D.Sutcliffe), St Columbas v Hebden Royd Red Star Res (D.Cartwright), West Central FC v Salem Res.

Skircoat Green Physiotherapy Challenge Cup semi-final (at Ripponden): Shelf United v Midgley United (P.Crabtree).