Pickering Town eye up a happy new year

York Press: Pikes’ in-form Liam Shepherd, right Pikes’ in-form Liam Shepherd, right

PICKERING TOWN coach Steve Brown said the Pikes’ scalpings over the last few weeks of leading Northern Counties East League top-tier clubs hinted at an upswing in form for the second half of the campaign.

“We know we are not going to win the title, but we know now that we are going to have a big say in it if we keep this sort of form going,” said Brown, in the wake of the 3-1 conquest of Bridlington Town.

The Pikes have been working with a new-look squad for much of the season, and recent performances have suggested the side are just starting to become a cohesive unit.

“The lads who have come to the club from the York & District League are finding their feet now and we are gelling into a good side,” added Brown.

Town have been imperious at home of late, and with talismanic striker Liam Salt enjoying a fine run of scoring form, Brown will be brimming with confidence heading into tomorrow’s premier division game with strugglers Winterton Rangers.

“It’s going to be interesting to see where we do finish, but at least it looks like we are in the right direction,” Brown acknowledged.

The Pikes currently sit 12th in the table with 35 points, but will be well aware that their recent form gives them every chance of marching up the league.

Scarborough Athletic will have the opportunity to go top when they visit Maltby Main.

Rudy Funk’s high-fliers have so far played second fiddle to Bridlington, but following their 3-1 loss at Pickering last week, their first in 17 games, Athletic are able to leapfrog them.

While they will be relying on another Bridlington loss, all the signs suggest Scarborough will hold up their end of the bargain at Maltby Main.

Tadcaster Albion will be lining up against a familiar face when they take on Glasshoughton Welfare.

Rob Hunter has just been appointed manager at Leeds Roads, having worked under current Brewers boss Paul Marshall at Tadcaster.

“It makes the game a lot more difficult than it really should have been,” admitted Marshall.

“Obviously they’ve got Rob and Mark (Smitheringale) in charge who were my assistants last year at Tadcaster.”

The group enjoyed a fruitful spell together, joining forces to secure promotion from the first division in 2010. They parted company in May due to Hunter’s work commitments.

“I’m really hoping to get back to winning ways,” added Marshall.

Albion lie a secure seventh in the table, but have lost their last three fixtures.

Bottom-of-the-table Selby Town are in dire need of a result, as they host ninth-placed Pontefract Collieries in division one.

The Robins boast just nine points from 21 games, and sit a further nine points adrift of Appleby Frodingham, the closest team to them.

Town’s midfield could be bolstered by Craig Sutton, who moved in midweek from Winterton Rangers.

Having been on the road for their last three fixtures, Saturday marks a welcome return to Flaxley Road, where Selby will be keen to capitalise on home advantage under boss Ian Dring.

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