With six of the last nine regular season games to be played at home, everyone associated with the Holy Blues will be hoping that Bish’s boys can continue the impressive run of form that they have been on in recent weeks, but also show the steel and resolve that were on display last time out against Guiseley, translating this to home turf form.
Three defeats in fifteen home league games for the Holy Blues doesn’t tell the whole story. It’s the eight draws at home that have really stopped Trinity hunting down table-toppers South Shields. And it’s that conversion of draws to victories that could really see Neal Bishop’s side propel themselves into the end of season play-off mix. Boasting the best away record in the league, to add in the benefit of securing three point maximums on home turf -the season could most certainly be brought to a most exciting climax!
Welcoming Warrington Rylands on Saturday, the side we kicked off the campaign against, winning away on the opening day of the campaign, Jack Dyche got the Holy Blues up and running inside eleven seconds. Skipper Andrew Wright scoring from the penalty spot, and Clayton Donaldson opening his account in Gainsborough blue, all made for a fantastic start to the season, and something similar would certainly be a welcome boost to those of a Gainsborough Trinity persuasion.
Rylands come to Lincolnshire on their third manager of the campaign. After long serving manager Dave McNabb departed on the 13th September, after four years and in excess of 150 games in charge, he was replaced by Jody Banim, the former Ashton United and Stafford Rangers manager, who lasted just over four months at Gorsey Lane. Now, four games in, former Ashton United and Atherton Collieries boss Micheal Clegg is in the Rylands hot-seat, and he’s already planning for next season, as he oversees changes to his playing squad that currently sit twelfth in the table, in their maiden season in the Pitching In Northern Premier, Premier Division.
Five wins, five draws and seven defeats come from Rylands’ seventeen games away from home. In those fixtures, they have scored thirty goals, conceding twenty-eight times. Though since the new man took over at the helm, Clegg has seen his side lose 1-0 to Whitby Town. A ninetieth minute strike seeing his reign begin with a narrow defeat. A goal-less draw at home to FC United of Manchester was followed by a two-all draw away at Stafford Rangers. Rangers going 2-0 up inside the first half an hour, but also having a man sent off, before Sean Cooke salvaged a point a minute from time.
Two of Rylands’ top scorers have departed the club during the season. Callum Dolan netted fifteen times before Christmas for the Warrington based side, earning himself a move to Fleetwood Town in League One. Kane Drummond, the visitors’ second top scorer, had nine by mid-November when he dropped a level to join former boss, McNabb at Macclesfield. Despite losing these goals from the side, Rylands are amongst the top five scorers in the division. Still headed up by none other than your own- Gainsborough Trinity, scorers of 61 league goals in 33 games!
On paper, this fixture certainly appears to be one to whet the appetite of the neutral – and with plenty to play for, we are hopeful of a bumper Northolme gate, to roar Trinity’s youthful side to new heights.
We extend a warm welcome to our fabulous match sponsors, for the game against Warrington Rylands.
Gold Match Sponsors – In Memory of Liam Guilliatt
Silver Match Sponsors – AMP Rose
Bronze Match Sponsors – Sills and Betteridge
Match Ball Sponsor – Paddockwood Forge
Mascots – Hattie and Evelyn will finally be getting to lead the team out and have their pictures taken with their favourite, Matt Yates. The pair have been excitedly waiting for their opportunity since the original date of the fixture back in December, so let’s be hoping it’s an extra special day for them to look back on!
During the week, it was confirmed that Harry Lewis has had his loan with the club extended for a further month. Harry scored twice in the recent away victory over Ashton United. And will be looking to get amongst the goals again as we welcome Warrington Rylands to the Dave Longstaff Martin and Co Arena. As ever, our thanks extend to Scunthorpe United, in ensuring all paperwork is completed smoothly.
Meanwhile, Prosper Keto has linked up with his former club, Clifton All Whites, to get himself match fit. Prosper has struggled with injury throughout the course of the season. And it was felt that getting some regular football under his belt would be in the best interests of both parties, as the Holy Blues chase an end of season play-off spot.
Ahead of the game we will be holding one minute’s silence, for former Gainsborough Trinity Manager, Ernie Oliver, who sadly passed away recently. Ernie occupied the dugout as Trinity Manager between January 1988 and September 1990. During his 32 months in charge, he oversaw 117 games, winning 35, drawing 26. Ernie is one of a handful of Father and Son duos to represent the Holy Blues, with Ernie as manager and his son, Lee as a player.
Initially arriving at the Northolme as Number 2 to Geoff Worth, he took over the Managers’ job, when Geoff resigned, due to outside work pressures. Winning his first match in charge, on January 13th, 1988, against Congleton Town, he helped the Holy Blues progress in the NPL Challenge Cup, by virtue of a 3-2 victory.
1990-91 proved to be a wretched season for Trinity and after an FA Cup 1st Qualifying defeat away at Frickley (following only one win in the first seven league games) Ernie Oliver stepped down to be replaced by Dave Bentley. Please join us in showing your respects for Ernie ahead of the game. Sleep well, Ernie.
Two of the sides in the play-offs face off against each other on Saturday, when Radcliffe welcome second placed Hyde to the Neuven Stadium. Another eye-catching fixture sees resurgent Whitby Town hosting Matlock.
Ashton United vs Liversedge
Atherton Collieries vs FC United of Manchester
Bamber Bridge vs Stafford Rangers
Belper Town vs Marske United
Marine vs Guiseley
Morpeth Town vs Warrington Town
Nantwich Town vs Lancaster City
Radcliffe vs Hyde United
Stalybridge Celtic vs South Shields
Whitby Town vs Matlock Town
Preview written by Rob Hughes (@AATM_Media)