View from the Dugout: Hoping for a big crowd today as we begin season-defining run

Neil Sorvel (right) with Robins manager Phil Parkinson
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This week’s column is from assistant manager Neil Sorvel…

It wasn’t a classic performance at Hereford but sometimes you have to find different ways to win and I am sure that we will look back at that 2-0 victory as a really important three points. We didn’t play the free-flowing football that we like to play but showed a different side to our game and were clinical with the chances that we had.

Hereford are difficult to play against and played a similar game to when we played there last season. They were happy to let us have the ball and soak up pressure and the conditions were difficult with the wind and the slope.

Elliott Durrell’s goal at the end of the first half came at a good time and Simon Richman gave us the cushion that we needed late in the game. Hereford responded to that defeat by producing a remarkable result at league leaders, York City, on Tuesday night, winning 4-1 at Bootham Crescent.

Watch highlights of the win over Hereford:

After three long trips to Spennymoor, Blyth and Hereford, we are back at home today for the first time in four weeks, with Spennymoor Town, who are one place and two points behind us in the table, the opposition. We lost 3-2 up in Durham last month and I wouldn’t say that today is a revenge game but three points would put us five points ahead of them with nine games to play.

Jason Ainsley’s team have followed a similar path to us in getting promoted from the Northern Premier League and doing well in the National League North and like us are looking to cement a place in the play-offs. They are a very good side but have four home games and six away games left, whilst we have six at home and four away.

Five of our six home games are against teams in the top seven, so we have the opportunity to define our season by maintaining our excellent home form, where we are unbeaten since the opening day of the season.

Alty players celebrate Elliott Durrell’s goal at Hereford, his third in three games since joining from York City

As well as picking up two big away wins in recent weeks, things have gone well for us in terms of other results and it’s getting interesting at the top end of the table. King’s Lynn are best placed to win the league with the number of games that they have left but there is still a lot of football to be played between between today and the end of April.

Max Harrop will not be available this afternoon, having pulled his calf in training on Tuesday. He’s had a few little niggles recently and only played part of last Saturday’s reserves game. Andy White took a knock to his ankle playing in that game and missed training on Tuesday but was back on Thursday night and should be fit again for selection.

Sean Williams has trained fully this week and will be available, so we are going into today’s game with a strong squad.

We are hoping for a big crowd this afternoon, with home fans being starved of watching the team for 28 days and also it’s the Manchester derby tomorrow, so there should be a few additional reds and blues in attendance.

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