PICKERING Town manager Paul Marshall is targeting at least a six-point haul from the Pikes’ “good run” into 2019.

The Pikes sit 16th in the Evo-Stik League east division ahead of tomorrow’s trip to high-fliers Pontefract Collieries, rejuvenated by a week’s break.

After that come well-spaced fixtures against Sheffield FC and Tadcaster Albion before ringing in the new year at Mill Lane against Marske United.

Although Pickering sit just four points above the drop zone, their FA Trophy run means they have games in hand on the teams around them.

Marshall said: “We've got a good run now. We play a game a week, unless we have any postponed, and we just need to stay away from the relegation zone.

“We've played more away games than home so (the table) will even itself out. If we get through the next four games with six to eight points, we'll be happy and move on to 2019 and a decent run towards the end of the season.”

Pontefract were promoted as champions from the Northern Counties East League last season, with Pickering finishing runners-up.

The two sides have met six times over the past four seasons, sharing three wins apiece. The Colls won the last meeting 1-0 with an 88th-minute Spencer Clarke header.

On the Pontefract game - Pickering's first since a goalless draw at Stamford on December 1 - Marshall added: “It's a big game for us.

“They're very good on the counter-attack and they cause problems, they're second in the table and they've won five on the bounce so they're flying.

“We have had a week's rest so hopefully the players will be ready to rock and roll on Saturday.”

Pickering’s FA Trophy run ended at the third qualifying round in a replay at Ramsbottom United, who won 2-1 with an 89th-minute goal.

Asked if the mood around the training ground was closer to disappointment over the exit or pride over the cup run, Marshall said: “There's a lot of pride.

“We missed the opportunity on the home game, then we didn't play well on the away game and they got the late goal. They deserved to beat us on the night, but we shouldn't have been there.

“But everybody's been happy to get £10,000 in the coffers from the three rounds.”

Defender George Bissett is back in contention for the Pontefract game. Matty Turnbull will be assessed. 

Third-placed in the east division, Tadcaster Albion went 10 games unbeaten with a 2-0 win at Lincoln United last week. Tomorrow, the Brewers host Sheffield FC.

Premier division high-fliers Scarborough Athletic have no game until December 22.

On Wednesday, Selby Town lost 3-0 at home to Parkgate in Northern Counties East League division one. The Robins remain third-placed ahead of tomorrow's visit of Grimsby Borough.

In the premier division, Knaresborough Town visit Hemsworth Miners Welfare, with both sides having scored six goals in their last outing. Second-bottom side Harrogate Railway Athletic host Worksop Town.