By D Whittle
Huddersfield face Sandal in a Yorkshire derby that could have huge consequences following three consecutive postponements.
Having lead by 12 points at the top of National League III North, chasers Stockport and Sale’s completed fixtures means that it remains a three horse race as they now trail by just two.
Manager Lee Paxman said: “We’ve had a very frustrating period with three cancellations in consecutive weeks. We find ourselves right back in the promotion fight.
“Although we have points on the board we would’ve preferred to maintain our advantage as we approach the home stretch.
But Paxman knows that they will be made to fight in the push promotion, as they take on a Sandal side that are fourth and have beaten Field’s two promotion rivals.
As well as the challenge, Field also welcome back Mark Sowerby to Lockwood Park. Sowerby led Huddersfield to two promotions in five years, so they are under no illusions of how well drilled the visitors will be.
Paxman said: “Sandal are a very strong side and injuries have really held back their promotion challenge. We know they’ve a sharp back line behind a fast and dynamic pack with lots of youth.
But ‘Field will be confident going into Saturdays derby having had a longer than expected recovery period for senior players, as well as the knowledge that they’ve already beaten their visitors this season.
Tom Owen returns to the side after recovering from a knee injury sustained in the epic draw at Sale, as Field’s centre plays against the side he scored a hat-trick against in the reverse fixture.
It was also in that game that Field discovered a new way to release their backs that have ripped teams apart in the following weeks, having being unbeaten since.
Paxman said: “We started that game with Tom Hodson at fly half, after his yellow card Giles Hetherington moved to 10 and made a great impact.
“Since then Giles has made the 10 shirt his own and Tom has found the freedom of full back and counter attacking threat much more exciting.”
Field know that the eight games to play will be the toughest of the season, starting this weekend with Sandal. They then travel to Stockport and Rossendale in the re-arranged fixture.