Evo Stik Division One South
Chris Hilton admits that the next two fixtures for Stocksbridge Park Steels could have a big say in whether his side can gatecrash the play-offs.
A trip to seventh-placed Lincoln United awaits tomorrow before the humdinger with promotion-chasing local rivals Shaw Lane Aquaforce in Barnsley on Tuesday night.
The Steels have picked up ten points out of a possible 15 which has propelled them from the bottom half of the table to within five points of the top five with as many as four games in hand on a few teams above them.
“They’re all tough,” Hilton said. “Chasetown (last time out) are top six. Lincoln are up there, Shaw Lane are top six.
“These are the sides we have to play, but on the upside of it. After these next two we have played most of the top six twice, there is only Stafford we haven’t played.
“Moving forward, the so-called harder games are out of the way. If we do get a good return from the next two games then we could put ourselves into a great position and why not?”
Richard Patterson, who broke his ankle at Gateshead in December, remains sidelined, but the midfielder is close to returning to fitness.
“I would say he was a good two weeks away because he hasn’t even trained with us yet,” Hilton added.
“He did some running, jumping on his ankle on Saturday before the game. He also had the ball out.
“Sheffield United have done a lot of work with him and helped us out. Hopefully he will be back training with us soon.
“I do expect him to play a reserve game in the next two weeks.”