Why should I watch..?

To see if Winsford United can halt the North West Counties League’s form team in the shape of Runcorn Linnets.

Blues will be motivated as well to avenge a five-goal hammering against their Cheshire rivals in the return fixture.

Lee Duckworth has challenged his players to produce their best more consistently after following impressive wins at Ashton Athletic and Runcorn Town with a defeat at Widnes and a draw with Squires Gate last time out.

Linnets arrive at St Luke’s Barton Stadium with a five-point lead at the Premier Division summit after collecting maximum points from their past six league matches.

They have avoided defeat against Winsford on each of their past six visits, a sequence that started with a 1-0 win in December 2011.

What they’ve said

“I’ve said it before, but games against the top sides tend to bring the best out of us.

“You only need to look at our wins against Ashton and Runcorn [Town] last month for proof.

“Our focus hasn’t changed; as a management team we want to finish as high as we can – certainly improve on last year – and we’ve brought in lads we believe can take us in that direction.”

Lee Duckworth, Winsford United player-manager

“It was nice to go top on Boxing Day, but it was important to follow it up by beating Hanley.

“We have to keep our feet on the floor though because there is a lot of football to be played – we must stay focused.

“There is experience in this squad, and the mentality is good.”

Michael Ellison, Runcorn Linnets manager

Numbers game

Linnets have kept a clean-sheet in their past four league matches, and have avoided conceding a goal in more than four hours of play

Man to keep an eye on

Matthew Green

Winsford’s goalkeeper can expect a busy afternoon against the North West Counties League top-flight’s best attack.

Michael Ellison’s men have scored 68 goals already this term, and were last shut out by Irlam in October.

Winsford team news

Captain Sean Sherwood (knee) is a doubt, while Danny Kerr is struggling with an Achilles injury.

Michael Koral is unavailable, while long-term injury absentee Jordan Johnson (knee) is still ruled out.

However Lee Duckworth is hoping that James Rothwell and Ryan Steele recover from illness in time to take part.

Form (past six in league)

Winsford D L W W L D

Linnets W W W W W W

Most recent meetings

Runcorn Linnets 5-0 Winsford (NWCFL Premier Division, August 25 2017)

Winsford 1-1 Runcorn Linnets (NWCFL Premier Division, February 13 2017)

Runcorn Linnets 0-2 Winsford (NWCFL Premier Division, August 16 2016)

Essential information

When Saturday, January 6

Kick-off 3pm

Address St Luke’s Barton Stadium, Kingsway, Winsford CW7 3AE

Admission Adults £6, Concessions (OAP/under 21s) £4, Under 16s £1

Parking Available for free at the ground