Knaresborough Town have a fully fit squad available as their tricky start to 2014 continues.
Ten-man Knaresborough fell foul of indiscipline when they started the new year with a 2-2 draw at Shirebrook Town last Saturday.
Brian Davey’s men conceded two “stonewall” second-half penalties, the second converted after a re-take, as the visitors twice lost the lead to share the spoils.
Fifth-placed Shirebrook have been tipped to challenge at the top this season. And Town will once again face one of the league’s best this Saturday, when third-spot Bottesford United visit Manse Lane.
Seb Carole and Josh Garbutt could return after missing the Shirebrook clash as Boro boss Brian Davey welcomes a healthy squad.
United sit just two points off leading pair Shaw Lane Aquaforce and Cleethorpes Town, and beat Town 1-0 on the opening day of the season.
Boro spokesman Ian Pickles said the visitors’ strong form had bewildered many this campaign.
“I have been surprised that they have stayed up there,” he said.
“They have some new players and are obviously in form. We just never got out of the blocks at their place .
Knaresborough have enjoyed their own fine run of form through the winter period, having lost once in their last nine matches.
“The confidence is high in the squad,” added Pickles.
Saturday’s draw at Shirebrook sparked controversy late on as the hosts pulled level after scoring a penalty at the second time of asking.
Goalkeeper Weston Marau leapt off his line too early to save and the referee ordered for the spot-kick to be retaken.
The keeper then saw red for a second yellow after petulantly kicking the ball away in frustration.
Shirebrook’s Aaron Moxam converted the second attempt passed stand-in stopper Dave Thomas on 88 minutes.
Thomas had earlier put Boro into the lead for a second time on 75 minutes, after Liam Gray’s first-half effort was cancelled out by a Moxam penalty.
Pickles added: “Both penalties were stonewall and it was the right decision to award the retake.
“Weston was four yards off his line when he caught the ball
“The lads deserved to win. We defended well and everything was together going forward.”
Meanwhile, Knaresborough Reserves twice recovered from being a goal down on Saturday, as top scorer Fraser Lancaster returned from injury.
His second-half hat-trick earned the leaders a 3-2 victory over Old Centralians at Manse Lane, in West Yorkshire League Division One.
Cox put the visitors ahead before half time, but Lancaster entered the fray at the break for his first taste of action since injury on November 23. He levelled the score in the 48th minute with a superb shot only to see Centralians nudge back ahead.
Another fine effort from Lancaster made it 2-2 on 69 minutes and he then won a penalty eight minutes later, dispatched for his hat trick and three valuable points.