Tough test awaits Brighouse Town at Northwich

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UNBEATEN in the league for the past eight matches, Brighouse Town travel to Cheshire to face a team bang in form this weekend.

They take on Evo-Stik NPL Division One league leaders Northwich Victoria, who on Monday night beat Vanamara National League Boreham Wood 2-1 in an FA Cup first round replay with goals from Jordan Williams and Ryan Astles.

This now sees them head to Sixfields to take on Chris Wilder’s struggling Northampton Town, who face being forced into adminsitration by their local council and wound up by HRMC ahead of their intended meeting on the weekend of December 4-6.

Former Conference outfit Northwich Victoria, who share the splendid Wincham Park with Witton Albion, have not been without their financial problems in the past decade but are riding high above all that now with manager Jim Gannon, the former Football League centre-half and manager.

Town, who will be giving fitness tests this week to skipper Leon Henry, striker Ernest Boafo – who came off injured midway through the second half at Ossett Town – and fellow strikers Daniel Facey and Mark Betts, are taking supporters on the team coach (11.45am departure).

There are still a few seats spare at £10 and committeeman Ellis Aked 07816435514 is taking bookings.

Town’s assistant manager Mark Booth says the team selected on Saturday against the Vics needs to be more clinical in front of goal as they have not put games to bed when well in command and have paid as a result with five draws when they could easily have added to the three wins in this run of eight undefeated league games.

“It was the same on Monday night against Harrogate Town in the West Riding Cup, even without a recognised forward line,” said Booth.

“We played some superb approach football and then didn’t take our chances to put the ball in the net.

“We will certainly have to be on our mettle on Saturday against this lot (Northwich) or they will make us pay, having scored 13 goals in their last three league and cup matches.

“To go down South on a Monday and beat opposition from three divisions higher shows what a team Gannon has put together from when we played them last term.”

There was one boost for the management team against Harrogate in the 2-0 defeat, midfielder Tom Haigh was back in action after his three-match ban and looked lively and skilful until substituted in the second half.

Town’s home game with second-placed Warrington Town on Saturday week has been postponed owing to the Cheshire club still being in the FA Trophy.

They will now entertain Conference North second-placed club AFC Fylde in the third round after beating nine-man Derbyshire outfit Basford United 3-0 at Cantiliver Park last Saturday.

Town will now entertain Radcliffe Borough on that date, November 28 (3.00pm), who they drew 2-2 with back in September.

The Greater Manchester side, currently lying in 18th place ahead of this weekend’s home game with Lancaster City, should have been playing Burscough but they are still in the FA Trophy after their shock 3-0 away win at favourites Kettering Town last Saturday.

On November 28, Burscough will now play the winners of the second round replay between Marine and Kidsgrove Athletic.

Tonight (Thursday) at the Dual Seal Stadium (7.30) Brighouse Town’s Development side will take on Ovenden WR in the third round of Albert Crabtree Halifax & District Challenge Cup.

Admission is free and development manager Charlie Tolley is hoping for a good turnout to see just what talent his squad possesses on their day.