PICKERING Town boss Paul Marshall will let his players enjoy their food and drink over Christmas - as long as it doesn’t interfere with their Northern Counties East League premier division double-header against Liversedge.

The Pikes do not have a game on Boxing Day or New Year’s Day this term but instead host mid-table Liversedge tomorrow before travelling to the West Yorkshire outfit seven days later.

It is a fixture schedule that gives NCEL players more scope to indulge themselves than in previous seasons but, with the Pikes having already enjoyed their Christmas party in Sheffield at the weekend, Marshall insists everything must be done in moderation.

“I won’t be stopping the lads from having a drink,” Marshall reasoned. “It’s just all got to be done at the right time.

“We’re in a good position in the league going into the new year and we’ve got to make sure we don’t let ourselves down in these two games either side of Christmas.”

Fourth-placed Pickering will give a debut tomorrow to former Tadcaster Albion and Yorkshire Amateurs midfielder Matt Claisse, who is also the captain of the RAF and Combines Services team. Claisse’s arrival at Mill Lane is particularly welcome as Nick Thompson undergoes a hernia operation.

Keeper Harry Andrews (shoulder) also remains sidelined but Marshall has been impressed by teenage deputy Charlie Andrew following his loan move from Hull City.

“It’s a shame to lose Nick and Harry because they are both big players for us and they will be out for a while, but Charlie Andrew has come in and, at 17, he looks a really good prospect,” Marshall said.

Due to frozen pitches, Pickering have not played in the league since winning at Handsworth on December 2 and were last in action more than a fortnight ago when Redcar Town were seen off 3-1 in the North Riding Senior Cup.

A more favourable weather forecast suggests there is a better chance to get tomorrow’s game on, with Marshall pleased the enforced break has given a couple of players time to recuperate.

“It has been nice to have a rest,” he said. “We had a couple of niggling injuries that have had a bit more time to clear up.

“Russ Parker has recovered from a thigh problem and Ryan Cooper is back from a long-term knee injury.”

Elsewhere, struggling Harrogate Railway go to Rainworth tomorrow, while there is a key North Yorkshire derby in division one as fifth-placed Selby Town visit leaders Knaresborough Town, with the return fixture taking place the following Saturday.

Up in National League North, high-flying Harrogate Town host bottom team North Ferriby United.