Trio of away day tests await Heanor

In regaining top spot last week, Heanor Town took their number of league goals this season to an incredible 91. But the ‘Goals Against’ column doesn’t share the same tidy format.

The opposition has taken the lead in each of the last six games and the Lions haven’t kept a clean sheet since Boxing Day, eight games ago.

From day one when Glenn Kirkwood and Craig Hopkins took over the managers’ mantle at the Town Ground, there has been a feast of attacking football which has been a joy to watch and be part of. But with a very tight end of season rapidly approaching there is the feeling that Heanor have to, perhaps, be a bit more defensive minded.

It is at home mostly where Heanor’s defensive frailties seem to show up most, and only Blaby & Whetstone Athletic in the top 11 have conceded more goals in home games. But having said that, no one can get anywhere near to matching the Lions 53 Town Ground goals in 14 games.

In 13 away games the Lions have scored 38 goals and conceded 15 for a very impressive record, and that should auger well as the team face their next three games away at very difficult venues.

No doubt Greenwood Meadows’ season long attendance record of 46 will be broken on Saturday when the Lions and their faithful and vociferous band of supporters turn Lenton Lane into a ‘home’ game. And the continued support of these supporters, without doubt the best in the league, for the following two games at Holbrook Sports and Blackwell Miners Welfare will be needed to help the team through two difficult fixtures.

One blow for the Lions is the injury suffered to midfielder Carl Slater. Slater played the last 20 minutes of the Oadby game with a broken ankle and will now be in plaster for the next eight weeks causing him to miss the remainder of the season.

The injury comes at a time when Slater was becoming an influential member of the team. His dynamic box to box approach to the game was not only catching the eye of supporters but being a most influential part of the team.

Goalkeeper Hadlee Dunn, who made his debut in the Oadby match, has returned to Central Midlands League side AFC Hucknall, and the latest incumbent between the sticks is Tom Gutteridge who has arrived from Gresley FC and made his debut in the game at Bardon Hill.

It would seem that there are also possibilities of more players being brought into the club for the run-in. Latest midfield recruit Adam Campbell from Blackwell Miners Welfare was called home in an emergency after being included in the squad at Oadby amongst the substitutes.

In the semi-finals of the League Cup competition Heanor have drawn their old adversaries and bogey team Radcliffe Olympic. The game will be played at Radford FC on Tuesday, March 27, with a 7.45pm kick off.

The other semi-final is the subject of a possible appeal. Ellistown have been removed from the competition for playing an ineligible player and Barrow Town reinstated. Subject to appeal, this will leave Barrow Town to play Holbrook Sports in the quarter final and the winners to take on Borrowash Victoria in the other semi-final.