PICKERING Town manager Paul Marshall is confident his unbeaten team can keep pace with North East Counties League leaders Pontefract Collieries.

Marshall declared the Pikes to be “probably the best footballing team in the league,” but admitted that “it’s not always the footballing sides that win. Sometimes you have to dig results out.”

The Mill Lane club have enjoyed an impressive undefeated opening nine games to the season, winning seven and drawing two.

They are hot on the heels of the Colls, following a month that has seen top-scorer Ryan Blott net four goals in six games.

Pickering’s next game will be on Wednesday at Parkgate, who survived a late comeback at Harrogate Railway in midweek to hold on to a 3-2 victory.

The Pikes will be a bit frustrated to have dropped two points in a 2-2 draw against Albion Sports that same evening, especially having turned the game around to lead just past the hour mark.

Albion’s 71st-minute penalty equaliser meant they had the final say in the game but, despite this disappointment, Pickering should equally be proud to have come out of a congested fixture schedule with a near-maximum points return.

Unlike leaders Pontefract and their upcoming opponents – who both feature in the FA Vase second qualifying round – Pickering will not play this weekend, which Marshall sees as a positive.

“The lads have played a lot of games over the past three weeks, so it’ll be good for them to get a rest,” he said.

The only injury concern for Marshall ahead of the Parkgate clash is their young keeper Harry Andrews, who injured his shoulder in midweek.

In the Evo-Stik North, Tadcaster Albion are preparing to face up to Kendal Town.

Both sides have experienced mixed fortunes this season, epitomised by the last five results of each side – a mix of two wins, two losses and a draw apiece, including the Brewers going down to second-bottom Goole, who claimed their only three points of the season so far in a 2-0 success this week.

Albion’s home form has been more consistent, though, winning three and only losing one – a narrow 2-1 defeat to third-placed Prescot Cables in August – so they will be confident against a Kendal side who have only registered one away goal this month, in both league and cup.

Selby Town are not in action until a week tomorrow when they face Shirebrook Town in the Northern Counties East League division one.

The Robins must have claimed the title of most entertaining side in the league, both scoring and shipping goals for fun on alternate occasions.

September has seen them put five past FC Bolsover, concede seven at home to Charnock Richard and, most recently, put Nostell Miners Welfare to the sword in an 8-1 demolition, with Liam Flanagan bagging four.

As well as home advantage, the Richard Street outfit will have an extra week’s rest, as their opponents, whose last league outing culminated in a 1-0 home defeat to Armthorpe Welfare, will play in the FA Vase second qualifying round this weekend.