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PREVIEW: Moatmen travel to Heather St John's on Boxing Day

Gresley look to make it three games unbeaten as they travel to Heather St John’s on Boxing Day.

With back-to-back home games against Walsall Wood and Coventry Sphinx, the Moatmen have picked up a very respectable four points. Now, they take the trip to Heather St John’s in the hope that they can really build some momentum after stringing together a couple of results.

Heather currently sit seventh in the Midland Premier League with 33 points from their 17 fixtures thus far. A win would catapult them right into promotion contention though, three points taking them all the way to 2nd if results go their way. Meanwhile the Moatmen will be looking to extend their lead over bottom side Selston and close the gap to 18th placed Lye Town.


A Look at the Opposition:

Heather have had an extremely strong season so far, finding themselves right in the fight for promotion. However, they will be looking to find more consistency after a shaky period of form. Despite winning 3-2 at Lye Town in their last game, this was just their second victory in five games – their first win since a 2-1 victory over Romulus in mid-November.

Despite the difference in league position, McDermott’s side will be hopeful of garnering something from the game given Heather’s struggles at home recently. Despite beating Romulus, Gresley’s upcoming opponents have tasted narrow defeats to Wulfrunians, Boldmere St Michaels and Highgate United – all coming at St John’s Park.

It is certainly going to be an incredibly tough test for the Moatmen though who are looking to pick up points on the road after back to back away defeats to Coventry United and Stourport Swifts.

The two sides have already met in the league early on in the season. On that day Gresley were very unfortunate not to pick up all three points. Despite taking the lead through Zazi’s 58th minute penalty, the Moatmen were denied their first victory of the season by Fraser Doyle’s last-gasp injury time equaliser.


One to Watch:

Heather’s one to watch is Keiron Clarke. Clarke has had a truly electrifying season in front of goal, netting a staggering 19 goals in 22 league starts this season – including two in his side’s 3-2 away victory over Lye Town.

The Moatmen will have to make sure they are sound defensively with such a deadly striker on the loose. A replica of the defensive performance against Walsall Wood would do very nicely for the away side.


A Look at the Manager:

At the helm of the Saints this season is Jason Lanns who took over Heather in the summer. The man at the head of this promotion-chasing outfit took over the club after leaving Paget Rangers in the summer between last season and this season.

Lanns left Rangers after guiding the club to a respectable 10th placed finish in the division below last season. Lanns has taken like a duck to water in the Midland Premier Division, guiding his side to top of the standings in the early stages.

Despite a spell of poor form derailing their title hopes, the Saints are still firmly in the chasing pack and have three games in hand on current table-toppers, Coventry United.

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