TIGERS: Judgement day awaits Holbeach

GAME OF THE SEASON: John Chand is braced for a titanic tussle.
GAME OF THE SEASON: John Chand is braced for a titanic tussle.

Holbeach United can take a giant step towards the UCL Premier Division title tonight as they go face-to-face with chief rivals St Ives Town.

The huge Westwood Road clash between the league’s top two is expected to go ahead despite the woeful weekend weather – and Tigers chief John Chand is billing it as the game of the season so far.

Leaders Holbeach go into the showdown nine points clear of the second-placed Saints, although tomorrow night’s hosts have two games in hand.

It’s the first of two meetings between the duo in the space of three weeks, with the destination of the title likely to be influenced heavily by both matches.

After seeing his side’s treble hopes ended by a 1-0 League Cup loss to Yaxley on Wednesday (see page 69), Chand is expecting a big performance from his charges.

“It has to be the game of the season so far really,” said the Holbeach supremo. “If we win, we move a big step closer to the title.

“But if we lose, it’s very much game on between us, St Ives and Spalding.

“If we can go there and win, we’d be seven points better off than them, providing they win their games in hand.

“That would allow us to drop points at Huntingdon and Spalding and still keep us in the driving seat.

“It won’t be easy, though. They’ve got where they are through being a top, well-organised side.

“But so have we and we’ll have to match them physically and learn to adapt to a pitch that won’t let us play the way we want to. I’ll be making changes after the Yaxley loss and am expecting a big performance. We were poor in that match and got what we deserved.”

Influential Holbeach skipper Jamie Stevens (hamstring) is rated touch and go for the clash and may not be risked, but talented winger Mitch Griffiths and striker Jason Turner should return. Chand is also likely to call on midfield duo Wes Lewis and Derwayne Stupple, as he considers “beefing up” his side.

St Ives, who have lost just once at home in the league all season, were beaten 2-1 in their last UCL Premier Division outing at Peterborough Northern Star.

They have key defender Will Fordham suspended.

Follow @LFPSport on Twitter for live updates from the match, with a full report in Thursday’s Spalding Guardian. Kick off is 7.45pm.