FC United manager Karl Marginson insists the Rebels are ready for their big Evo-Stik Premier promotion showdown at Hednesford this weekend after reigniting their play-off challenge with a 3-0 romp over visiting Stocksbridge.
Marginson’s men bounced back from their shock defeat at Rushall Olympic with ex-Oldham Athletic striker Matthew Wolfenden’s second hat-trick in a United shirt securing them an ultimately comfortable three points.
FC’s triumph in front of a Gigg Lane crowd just one short of 2,000 lifted them back up to sixth and, thanks also to other results at the top of the table going in their favour, was just the boost the Rebels were looking for ahead of Saturday’s crunch trip to Keys Park.
With runaway leaders Chester now seemingly on their way to achieving automatic promotion as champions and seventh-placed Marine in grave danger of falling away, United and Hednesford are among five clubs battling to fill the four play-off spots.
Marginson said: “It was important we go to Hednesford with a win under our belts so, all in all, it was a job well done against Stocksbridge.
“Matty was delighted with his hat-trick and rightly so, but I know he’d be the first to recognise the part others played in creating all three of his goals.
“Mike Norton unselfishly laid on his first after being sent clear by a great pass by Lee Neville, and Jake Cottrell and Lee then combined to set up his second.
“His third resulted from terrific play by Kyle Jacobs and Stephen Johnson, so they were really three excellent team goals even though Matty made most of the headlines for having scored them. I have to admit, we were slow to get going, but, when we did finally get into our stride, we never honestly looked back and perhaps should have won by a bigger margin.
“But I’ll happily settle for the three points, particularly with Hednesford, Bradford Park Avenue and Marine all losing.
“We needed to respond to losing at Rushall – and we did precisely that.”
Marginson is, however, preparing for a tough test in Staffordshire.
He added: “We beat Hednesford 2-0 at Gigg Lane less than two months ago, just a week after they’d won at Chester, and they’ve since been unable to sustain their challenge for the title.
“But they’re still a very strong side and we know we’re going to have to be at our best, just as we were last time we played them, if we’re to repeat our earlier victory.”