Thursday, February 28, 2008

Crunch week

Tony Howard

28/ 2/2008

FC UNITED hope that home advantage counts as they host two of their main promotion rivals in a week that could shape their season.

The reds face two title showdowns in the space of five days as they take on Bamber Bridge and Curzon Ashton at Gigg Lane.

FC drew 0-0 with Bamber last weekend and will be hoping to go one better with victory on Saturday, March 1, kick-off 3pm. Then they host former league leaders Curzon Ashton on Wednesday, March 5, kick-off 7.45pm, with United confident they can repeat their December win in the reverse fixture.

Manager Karl Marginson said: "Our confidence is high as the recent win over Skelmersdale proved.

"We went to Bamber Bridge and matched them on Saturday, which was a vast improvement from when we got hammered 3-0 there earlier in the season.

"I think, with home advantage, we will definitely be looking to win on Saturday.

"We’ve already beaten Curzon but they’re a good side who will be looking to even things up.

"Both games are vital to our title aspirations and we will have to be at our best."

FC will have more time to concentrate on their promotion push after they crashed out of the UniBond Presidents Cup at Nantwich on Monday night.

The reds were humbled 5-1 on a sand pit of a pitch but won’t be too downhearted as the defeat will ease their fixture pile-up.

The Dabbers took advantage of a poor performance from FC’s stand-in defensive partnership of Micha ‘Sacre’ Bleau and Adam Turner, with three goals coming from set pieces.

Jerome Wright scored a consolation for United. He took advantage of the surface by hitting the ball into the ground, causing wet sand to splatter up into the keeper’s eyes.

Under-18s will get free admission to the Bamber Bridge game on Saturday as part of FC’s Youth United Day. Adult admission costs £7.50.