City face a crucial trip to Solihull Moors tonight, and whilst it may not be as attractive as a weekend in Burnley, it does have significantly more importance.
It represents one of our games in hand, and therefore it is a massive opportunity to steal a march on our rivals. FGR have closed that gap now and we need to ensure our games in hand are used to full effect. Expect to see Josh Ginnelly mid-second half from the bench as we try and put game fatigue to one side and make our superior fitness pay.
Away from the pitch it is interesting to have a match on deadline day. There has been lots of speculation regarding our players, but with us being on the pitch until 10pm I can’t see a Jonny Margetts style ‘last minute’ move for anyone. If our players are subject to interest, expect to see them omitted from the squad.
We’ve already knocked back one approach this transfer window, rumoured to be from Doncaster for Alex Woodyard. There’s only one player I can see moving on if any, and that is Theo Robinson. Theo has been on a week to week deal ever since he signed, and again if rumour is to be believed he has been the subject of interest from the Football League. Whilst we are not bound by the constraints of the transfer window, it does slam shut for those above us at midnight. If anyone wants Theo Robinson, they’ll need to act before kick-off.
Whatever happens one thing is certain: we will be playing Solihull Moors this evening and we do want to press our advantage in the hunt for the title. Solihull sit 15th but they’ve won three of their last five games. They were the only National League side to get six points over Christmas (from Chester), and on Saturday they won 2-0 against Maidstone.
Up front their danger man is Omari Sterling James, a player we’ll have to watch if we’re to bring three points back from the Midlands. He netted four in two games in December, twice against Chester on Boxing Day and twice the week before in an impressive 4-4 draw with Dagenham. Less impressive for the Moors was the 2-0 home reverse against Gateshead a couple of weeks ago, a result that shows another side to their story.
They don’t like their midweek games at Solihull, perhaps a reflection of their part time status. Tuesday nights have yielded four draws so far, including dour 0-0 affairs with us and Southport. They did register a 4-0 win over Southport on a Tuesday in October, but then-leading scorer Akwasi Asante bagged a hat trick. They’ve lost twice as well in mid-week, to Torquay (0-3) and Wrexham (1-0).
Solihull have lost two key players in the transfer window, namly Asante and James Osbourne, both to Grimsby Town. That could be a factor in us bringing back all three points, although since those players left they haven’t conceded a goal.
Whether we come back with a full squad of players as the windows swings to a close is another matter entirely.