The unbeaten second team face Sedgley Tigers at Lightfoot Lane on Saturday in what is sure to be a fiercely contested battle. Both teams have yet to be vanquished this season and their records are remarkably close. Hoppers currently sit top of the Bateman Premier League based on their superior points difference.
Mike Lough’s men approach the game on the back of their nerve wracking victory down at Stockport. Their visitors have enjoyed a week off following an aborted fixture against Lymm. Hoppers suffered a blow this week when Andy Napier and Cameron Berry were ruled out of selection with injury, whilst Mark Irving is struggling with illness. Connor Murphy has been rewarded for his outstanding form so far this season and is promoted to the first team bench. These losses are compensated by the return of Alan Holmes and Mark Rigbye, whilst scrum-half Matt Conway comes back onto the bench.
Selection has been extremely tough this week and several players are extremely unlucky to have missed out on what should prove to be the toughest fixture of the season so far. The squad has trained well and credit should go to those who weren’t selected for the way they put their disappointment aside.
Sedgley have, along with Macclesfield, dominated the Bateman Premier League over the past five seasons. The “Mighty Twos” as they like to be known, have only lost a handful of games and will consider themselves to be favourites. They boast an extremely well drilled and settled squad, including players with National League 1 experience. Hoppers will also approach the game in confident mood as their run of success has been based upon a miserly defence combined with ruthless efficiency in attack.
Kick off is scheduled for 2.15 and the squad are due to meet at 1pm. Hopefully a healthy crowd will be in attendance to watch what will surely be an entertaining contest. Speculation has been rife on social media sites that Hoppers might hand a home debut to one or more of their recent signings and this has certainly added to the sense of anticipation.
Dave Chadwick, Dan Fletcher, Matt Conway