Striker Shane Newton is expected to make a full debut for title-chasing Hucknall Town as they continue their pursuit of top spot in a home clash with Swanwick Pentrich Road this Saturday (3pm).
The experienced hitman, short on full match fitness after signing in midweek, came on as a substitute in last weekend’s 3-1 derby win over Linby Colliery as the Yellows continued their 100 per cent record in 2018 with a seventh straight win.
“We managed to beat the weather and get the three points so we were very happy,” said manager Andy Graves.
“Shane started off on the bench but he showed the class he has got in the 20 minutes he was on the pitch.
“He was very unfortunate not to score, the ball bobbled up at the wrong time for him.
“I have not worked with him before but we’ve seen him and been aware of him for quite a while.
“He helped South Normanton get promotion from the Central Midlands League two seasons ago when he scored 27 goals.
“He has been playing at a much higher standard. But, for one reason or another, we’ve managed to get him to come to us – and for nothing.
“He was still playing for South Normanton in the Northern Counties East League. But he likes to play up front and they’ve got Marcus Tudgay playing up there in that central role.
“I think he had been away with work as well, but he just wants regular football. So we are quite happy and we are grateful to the Normanton manager for allowing it to go through quickly.”
Graves is hoping to give Newton a start on Saturday, but is undecided who would play alongside him.
“I would expect Shane to start this weekend,” he said.
“He’s going to have a run out with the reserves on Thursday at Mickleover as he does need games.
“He’s been a bit rusty, like everyone, with the weather and everything.
“But who is going to start with him is the big question with Adam Nelson firing in goals at the moment?
“We’ve also got a few little knocks from Saturday, so we’ll have to see.
“Devante (Reittie) has a sore knee from Saturday, which is why he came off. But we do have one or two coming back from injury back as well.
“We’ve also got Tevahn Tyrell back, who was away last week. But the way the lads played might make it a bit tougher for him to get straight back in.
“The competition is back for places again which we’ve probably not had for a few weeks or more.
“That will be interesting and a headache for me. We should be in a stronger position now.”
Hucknall are second, six points shy of leaders Sherwood with a game in hand and will hope to complete an emphatic double over Swanwick on Saturday.
However, Graves warned: “As I say every week, there are no gimmes in this league and Swanwick are a good side.
“They don’t have the best of luck playing games regularly at home on a pitch that gets waterlogged.
“But on a decent pitch they can play decent football and catch you out. So, again, it’s another tough game.
“We did beat them 5-1 up there, which was a massive result for us, but now we’ve got to make sure we get something from them at our ground.”
The CML South table had to be amended this week after the resignation of South Normanton FC
But Graves said it hadn’t made too much difference to the title-chasing quartet.
“I believe Sherwood, ourselves and Eastwood lose three points,” he said.
“I think Pinxton gain a point back but they didn’t do themselves any favours on Saturday with their Matlock result.
“Goals-wise I think Eastwood lose seven, Sherwood lose six while I think we lose one – but it doesn’t make a great deal of difference.
“To be perfectly honest I don’t even think Pinxton losing against Matlock will make a great deal of difference – they will bounce back.
“Anyone up there who thinks that’s it and takes their foot off the pedal are going to be in trouble.”
Graves was delighted to see a final revamp of fixtures move their midweek haul away to Hilton back to a Saturday afternoon.
“We’ve just had what should be our final fixtures list and we’ve only got one evening game away now,” he said.
“The trip up to Hilton in midweek is now not happening. I think it’s now on Non-League Day Saturday with a 3pm kick-off.
“That’s pleasing as we would have really struggled to get players up there in midweek.”