It has been good while it lasted but it's now all got a bit boring playing the likes of Hyde, Lewes and Droylsden when we could have been pitting our footballing skills against the likes of Port Vale, Walsall, Bradford City and Rotherham. During our time here we have seen lesser clubs like Accrington, Dagenham, Burton Albion, Stevenage and, er, Crawley Town enter the hallowed halls and make a damned good fist of it.
Now it could be our turn to go there again and this time we'll know what to expect and so be better equipped for the trials that could present themselves.
First we have to get through tomorrow knowing full well that our destiny will not be totally in our own hands. It's a given that we have to win the game against an almost relegated Stockport County by two clear goals but we have no control over what will happen in the game at Field Mill between Mansfield and Wrexham. We would desperately love to see Wrexham put the Staggies in their place but we also know that the Wrexham side we beat last weekend were a very weakened side that are now weakened further following a bad injury to striker Danny Wright during the week.
The Dragons boss, Andy Morrell, has gone on record this week basically saying that his side will not be worrying about putting out their strongest possible side and will do enough to give them a game and not much more. I just hope that's paper talk in an effort to give Mansfield false security and Morrell will actually give them a game they won't forget and win.
Our opponents Stockport will also be needing all three points from this game but for a very different reason. They need to gain maximum points and coming for the draw will be no good for them at all and even the win may not be enough. The two clubs immediately above them, Tamworth and Gateshead, only need a draw in their games to survive while the next side higher up, Lincoln City, will need to lose 3-0 at Hyde to find themselves relegated instead.
I don't think we'll be rolling over to let Stockport win, to be honest, as one County fan on their forum said we might do in an act of compassion. He was soon howled down by his mates.
We'll have two former Stockport lads turning out for us. Keith Briggs had two spells with them when he joined them as a trainee in 1999 before moving on to Norwich City three years later for 65K and then re-joining two years later. James Vincent also started as a trainee with them but stayed a bit longer, five years and over seventy appearances.
There is a third former County player with us but Danny Pilkington is out injured at the moment and has just returned to training. Danny is the only Harriers player injured at the moment, apart from Jack Byrne that is, but could return if we are forced into the play-offs.
County will be without Mark Cullen and Kieran Charnock, both injured, while Jon Macken was pulled from the warm up, prior to Tuesdays drawn game at Gateshead, with an injury. It's touch and go if he'll be playing.
Stockport started the season winning enough games to look as if they'd be having a decent crack at getting promotion but their choices of managers weren't doing them much good. When they first got relegated Deitmar Hamaan was in charge but he hadn't got a clue about lower level football.
Their former player Jim Gannon was the next to take up the hot seat when he returned to the club as both director of football and team manager but a year later with the club now struggling to avoid a slump the club appointed another numpty in Darije Kalezic. He lasted just twelve games before they sacked him and bought in a real manager - the former Harrier Ian Bogie. Sadly he's arrived too late to stop the slump of a once formidable team.
So what's the plan for tomorrow then? The main task is to win the game and win handsomely. It's been said enough times now that we fail to really finish a team off even when the chances and the reason is there and now is the time that we could have done with more of the 5-1 win at home to Dartford or the 4-0 away at Hyde.
The next thing we, as fans, should be doing is to get ourselves to the game, bring a friend or six, and get ourselves fully behind the lads. No stupid wind up songs towards County fans, just songs praising the Harriers and encouraging them to the win.
If we do fail in our bid to gain automatic promotion then finishing second and the play-offs is no mean feat considering the start we had to the season. Stay in the ground at the final whistle, no sneaking out ten minutes before the end just to get an extra pint in early in the Arms, and give them the praise and thanks they deserve for this roller coaster of a season.
Give thanks to Steve Burr, above left, and Gary Whild, above right, for all they have achieved.
Photo © KHFC
Lewis, N Vaughan, L Vaughan, Williams, Grimes, Dunkley, Demetriou, Gowling, Shakes, Storer, Vincent, Jackman, Briggs, Guinan, Johnson, Pearson, Malbon, Gittings, Gash, Devaney, Blissett, Jarvis, Rowe.
Stockport County from:
Ormson, King, Smith, Halls, Newton, Vidal, Tunnicliffe, Whitehead, Kenyon, Hobson, Sheridan, Meaney, Brownhill, Nolan, Cirak, Fagbola, Mainwaring, Macken, Hackney, McDermott, Marshall, Schofield, Bullock.
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