By Liam Chronnell
FC UNITED's hopes of a third successive title could hinge on the outcome of a league hearing.
The Rebels go before UniBond League chiefs on Thursday night facing a charge of failing to fulfil a fixture last month - and could receive a heavy fine, points deduction or even, though highly unlikely, expulsion from the league.
United were forced to postpone their Division One North clash with Woodley Sports on March 6 at the last minute after ignoring the fact that landlords Bury had called the game off 15 days earlier.
But the Reds - 11 points behind leaders Skelmersdale with four games in hand before tonight's vital home clash with rivals Curzon Ashton - know any loss of points could have a serious impact on their championship aspirations.
"I've not known something like this before and would hope the league would be sympathetic given that they know the position we face in not having our own ground and that we are tenants," said FC boss Karl Marginson.
"It's a league and points should be played for, not deducted."
Patterson was passed fit for tonight's match with fellow title-hopefuls Curzon, while midfielder Nicky Platt (groin) and defender Bradley Howard (hamstring) will both come into Marginson's plans after recovering from injury.
4:53pm Wednesday 5th March 2008