PICKERING Town manager Paul Marshall says the opportunity to play on a Premier League stage next month should motivate his players in the final two games of the season.
The Pikes, who are second in the Northern Counties East League premier division, can no longer win promotion and are six points clear of third placed Bridlington Town.
However, they are due to play at Middlesbrough’s 34,000 capacity Riverside Stadium on May 15 in the final of the North Riding County FA Senior Cup against Whitby Town.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s home game with Athersley Recreation, Marshall said: “The players have a massive incentive to win these last two games. If they don’t play well enough, or put in 100 per cent, they won’t be playing at the Riverside!”
Harrogate Railway Athletic, who visit Bottesford Town, still need a point to guarantee their safety. Ray Green’s side have lost eleven of their last 12 league games and conceded 38 goals in the last six.
Selby Town host Teversal in their final game of the season in NCEL Division One.
Town have gone eight games without defeat and secured tenth spot in the table.
Knaresborough Town, who are out of play-off contention in eighth spot, will be looking to end the season with a victory at home to Brigg Town.
Scarborough Athletic will be guaranteed a place in the play-offs if they win their final league game of the season tomorrow at Colwyn Bay.
With the club returning to a new stadium in Scarborough this summer after a decade playing at Bridlington, the pressure has been on to win promotion this season from Evo-Stik First Division North.
Things looked to be going wrong in February when the club went five games without a win but they have now won seven games in a row and moved back into the top five.
Assistant-manager Chris Bolder said: “We targeted to be towards the top end of the table this season - if not automatic promotion then definitely the play-offs - and it’s in our hands now. What more can you ask? We are going into the last game of the season knowing that, if we win, we are guaranteed to be in the play-offs.”
Four rival clubs - Trafford, Glossop North End, Brighouse Town, and Clitheroe - are still hoping to snatch fifth spot this weekend. Anything but three points will leave Scarborough vulnerable.
League One champions Sheffield United, meanwhile, will provide the opposition for Scarborough’s opening game at the new stadium on Saturday July 15.
Tadcaster Albion complete their first season back in First Division North with a home game against Mossley. Both clubs have narrowly avoided the drop but the Brewers have picked up only three points from their last seven games.
Former Sunderland midfielder Liam Agnew is set to return from injury for Harrogate Town’s final home game of the season against Brackley Town in Vanarama National League North.