Ferriby 'comfortable' at top as Reds arrive
NORTH Ferriby manager Billy Heath says his side feel comfortable at the top of the table as they look to open up a 17-point gap on one of their main promotion rivals tonight.
FC United of Manchester visit the Rapid Solicitors Stadium hoping to end Ferriby's 10-game unbeaten league run.
Ferriby go into the clash five points clear of the chasing pack, with a game in hand on second-placed Nantwich, and Heath says his players can cope with being league leaders.
"There's no reason why we can't cope with being top," he told the Mail. "They have plenty of experience of playing at a higher level and being top is nice.
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"It's a shame it's not March or April time but it's up to us to stay top now.
"If I'm honest, I expected us to be there or thereabouts at this stage of the season, but maybe not top.
"That's not being negative but we had a lot of new players come in and sometimes it takes time for them to gel.
"Credit to the players, they have clicked straight away.
"But we have to keep pressing and try to get further ahead at the top of the table.
"In this league we know we have to go into games at 100 per cent. If not you will come away with nothing."
Ferriby are currently in a rich vein of form, with nine wins and a draw from their 10 last matches.
But Heath is under no illusions that tonight's visitors will make things tough for them.
FC United of Manchester are 14 points behind Ferriby with four games in hand, and Heath expects the Reds to be challenging come the end of the season.
"Like us, FC United of Manchester have a lot of experienced players," he said.
"I'd rather have points on the board than games in hand, but they play good football and tonight should be a cracking game for fans to come along to.
"They will want to get back to winning ways after losing their last three games.
"I expect them to finish close to the top of the table. So, to open up a 17-point gap on them with a win tonight would be very welcome."
Heath will be without both his first-choice centre halves through injury as Gregg Anderson picked up a groin injury and joins Paul Foot (dead leg) on the sidelines.
Nathan Peat picked-up a slight leg strain at Stafford but should be fit, with Steve Ridley expected to start after impressing in recent games.
"Steve will come in for his chance," added Heath.
"He has had to be patient but he has come off the bench in the last few games and done well, which is why we have a strong squad."
Ferriby's all-time leading scorer Gary Bradshaw is available after a one-match suspension, but Heath will leave it late before deciding whether to recall him instantly.
Ferriby squad: Adam Nicklin, Antoni Pecora, Steve Gardner, Dean Lisles, Mark Gray, Nathan Peat, Gregg Anderson, Liam King, Russell Fry, Danny Clarke, Chris Bolder, Ryan Williams, Jack Muldoon, Ryan Kendall, Gary Bradshaw, Ben Hunter, Steve Ridley