Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Resurgent Rebels eye top spot

By Liam Chronnell

FC United v Clitheroe
UniBond League Division One North

FC UNITED could hit top spot for the first time this season when they take on struggling Clitheroe.

The breakaway club, chasing a third successive title, suffered a stuttering start to the new campaign.

But the Rebels are now back to their best after moving up to second after a sixth straight victory.

And the Gigg Lane tenants could move ahead of leaders Curzon Ashton on goal difference if they win at Clitheroe on Saturday, with the Tameside table-toppers in FA Cup action.

"It would be a great psychological boost if we can achieve it," said FC boss Karl Marginson, whose team thrashed Bamber Bridge 5-0 in the President's Cup last Wednesday to complete a fine four days. "The lads have responded well to the little blip and in the last two games they have been excellent."

United cut the gap at the top of the table to three points with a 3-0 victory at Bridlington Town.

Former Manchester United striker Aaron Burns led the way with his fifth goal in five games since joining the club, before a fine solo effort from Jerome Wright and captain Rory Patterson's 16th of the season completed the rout.

And Marginson hailed his in-form strike duo of Burns and Patterson as one of the reasons behind the Reds resurgence. He added: "Aaron came at the right time for us and gave everybody a lift at the club, while I can't remember the last time Rory didn't score.

"The two have formed a really good partnership. Apart from the goals, their movement is superb and they are an absolute nightmare for defenders."

Marginson, though, is waiting anxiously on the fate of last season's top-scorer, Stuart Rudd, who will discover whether he will play again this term.

The striker suffered a knee injury last month, but the severity of the problem will not be known until he receives the results of his scan tomorrow. If, as the club fear, it is a cruciate problem, then Rudd could be sidelined for up to a year.

2:58pm today