TIGERS: Holbeach ready for ‘game of the season’

NO DEAL: Gregg Smith (right) is unlikely to sign for Holbeach after talks.
NO DEAL: Gregg Smith (right) is unlikely to sign for Holbeach after talks.
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All eyes are on Carter’s Park this Saturday as leaders Holbeach United welcome chief title challengers St Ives for the game of the season so far.

The Tigers go into the clash 17 points clear of their rivals at the top of the UCL Premier Division, but the Saints have five games in hand.

It’s the first meeting of the duo this campaign, meaning a St Ives win would swing the momentum in the tussle for the title back in their direction.

Holbeach chief John Chand reckons Saturday’s visitors are in as good a position as his side, but feels the Saints realistically need to win the showdown to stay in the hunt.

“I see St Ives as our main challengers,” admitted Chand. “All things considered, they are level pegging with us – if they win their games in hand and beat us, they can go top.

“It’s not in my mentality to look for a draw, but I’d be happy with not losing on Saturday to be honest.”

St Ives will arrive at Holbeach with the league’s only unbeaten away record – and they were 4-0 winners on their last visit to Carter’s Park in the League Cup semi-final last year. But they’ve gone off the boil in recent weeks, winning just two of their last nine games in all competitions.

In contrast, Holbeach have won 11 of their last 12 league games – a stat Chand sees as key. He added: “St Ives will perhaps feel they’ve drawn too many games. Teams chasing will inevitably slip-up when the fixtures pile-up, too.”

It must be said that Saturday’s game (3pm) is under serious threat after snow and freezing conditions this week. No decision is likely to be made on the pitch until game day.

Meanwhile, it looks unlikely Chand will sign Stamford striker Gregg Smith. Chand has held talks with the power-house hitman, but is likely to look at other forwards.