Bradford Park Avenue v Halifax Town: Shaymen bid to extend lead

TOWN can strengthen their grip on top spot in the Evo-Stik Premier Division with victory at Bradford Park Avenue tonight (7.45).

The Shaymen would be 12 points clear of the field if they beat their neighbours, who they defeated 1-0 at the Shay back in October with a Danny Holland strike.

But boss Neil Aspin is expecting a tough derby having taken advantage of the postponement of his side's home game with Frickley on Saturday to watch Avenue pick up a 1-0 win at Nantwich.

"Nantwich hit the bar several times but Bradford Park Avenue had their chances as well," said Aspin, whose side beat Avenue 3-0 at the Horsfall Stadium in the League Cup a fortnight ago. "They have got a physically big side.

"There will be a good atmosphere inside the stadium, totally different to how it was two weeks ago.

"We had a close league game with them at the Shay when they played well."

Saturday's game at the Shay was an early casualty with the pitch frozen meaning, in Aspin's words, it was "an easy decision for the referee".

And the fact that the extra couple of days rest will benefit some of Town's squad could be cancelled out by the confidence Avenue gain from their win in Cheshire.

"There were a couple of players struggling for Saturday," said Aspin, who did not name names but was likely to be nodding towards James Dean and Tom Baker.

"The extra 48 hours will have done them a lot of good.

"You can never legislate for when you play and while you may be fresher on a Monday if you have not played on Saturday, you soon recover from a weekend game if you have had a win.

"Avenue's confidence will be higher than it would have been the week before when they were beaten.

"It is all on the night, though, how we start the game and get to the tempo we are looking for."

Matlock missed the chance to close the gap on the Shaymen at the weekend when they were beaten 1-0 at home by Marine and Worksop surrendered an interval lead as they were beaten 2-1 at Kendal Town.

Colwyn Bay, North Ferriby and Buxton, like the Shaymen, were frustrated by the weather.

TOWN fans can book their places on the official club coach for Saturday's trip to North Ferriby by calling 07707 143094 (after 5pm). The cost is 10 and transport leaves at 1pm. Bookings are also being taken for the County Cup game at Harrogate Railway on February 1. The cost is 10 and transport leaves at 6.30.