FC Halifax Town v Darlington preview

FC Halifax Town's Steven Drench.
FC Halifax Town v Sheffield United.  Pre-season friendly.  19 July 2016. Picture Bruce Rollinson
FC Halifax Town's Steven Drench. FC Halifax Town v Sheffield United. Pre-season friendly. 19 July 2016. Picture Bruce Rollinson
0
Have your say

Town keeper Steve Drench is set to miss their crucial New Year’s Day clash with Darlington at The Shay on Sunday (3.0) with a hamstring injury.

Drench picked up the injury during Halifax’s 3-2 defeat at Darlington on Boxing Day, and is rated as “very doubtful” by boss Billy Heath.

“The injury was strapped at half-time but because we had no substitute keeper he had to stay on,” he said.

But there was some good news for Heath after back-up keeper Tom Nicholson returned to training on Wednesday, and he is now set to deputise for Drench on Sunday.

Tom Nicholson and Liam King both took part in training this week and will be available, but Danny Clarke is a doubt after missing training on Wednesday.

Jordan Sinnott will be out for another two weeks with a tweak to his medial ligament in his knee.

Jake Hibbs is out for 10 days with a thigh strain, and Matty Brown is still six weeks away from a return to fitness.

Scott Garner will also moss the game while he continues to serve his suspension for his red card against Telford.

Town are without a win in seven games, not including the West Riding County Cup, and have lost five of those matches.

They have not kept a clean sheet in eight games.

A defeat could leave Halifax as many as nine points adrift of the play-off places, while Darlington could move up to second in the table with a win.

Only Fylde have scored more goals in the division than Darlington. Striker Mark Beck, who netted twice against Halifax on Boxing Day, is their top scorer with 11 league goals.

But Darlington have not kept a clean sheet away from home all season, a run which now stretches to 12 games, and have kept only one clean sheet in 25 matches this season.

Sunday’s National League North fixtures:

Alfreton Town v AFC Telford United

Bradford Park Avenue v Salford City

Chorley v AFC Fylde

FC Halifax Town v Darlington

FC United of Manchester v Altrincham

Gainsborough Trinity v Boston United

Gloucester City v Brackley Town

Kidderminster Harriers v Worcester City

Nuneaton Town v Tamworth

Stockport County v Harrogate Town