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U's in Top of Table Clash

Krista Hultquist  Thursday, March 07, 2002  13:41 GMT

The U's are set to travel up to Northampton once again this week, to face their nearest rivals Rushden and Diamonds, Rushden have now dropped down to third place this week as they did not play last weekend, they have a game in hand on the U's and are trailing seven points. Cambridge City are sitting in 2nd place on 30 points but both the U's and Rushden have a game in hand on them.

When the two teams met earlier in the season at Wivenhoe Park, the U's came away with the three points beating Rushden 2-1. However, it was not an easy game and the U's had to battle hard to maintain their lead, letting in Rushden's goal in the second half. Rushden are a youthful team, who were very close to gaining promotion last season, narrowly missing the boat to Cambridge Academicals, a very strong side. They have also been on the promotion warpath this season winning nine of their thirteen games, but dropping important points with two losses and two draws. In terms of skill and committment the teams are pretty evenly matched, however, the U's have experience and good form on their side. When the two met last season only 1 goal seperated them, a one all draw in the first game and the U's losing 1-0 in the rematch.

Should the U's win this weekends game, it would mean their lead stretches to ten points with five games left to play. It would leave Rushden with an awful lot to do. With this in mind the team is expecting to face a Rushden squad with all guns blazing on Sunday, on the flip side as the U's have so much to gain from a win this weekend and it could seal the league title, the team is very fired up and determined to shut the door on Rushden's bid for the title.

The injuries which have dogged the side over the last few weeks are now behind us, which means we have a full first team squad for the first time in weeks. We have four players back to full fitness for this very important game. Team Captain, Debbie Aylward makes a very welcome return, and has had the all clear from the Physio, the same for left back Zalda Guernari. The Rock, centre half, Debbie Green has now made a full recovery after weeks of rest. Louise Gaskin almost managed a full game last week, although substituted she had already put away two goals, and is fighting fit for this weeks game.

Making the long journey this week the full first team squad is:

Keeper - Louise Murphy
Left Back - Zalda Guernari
Centre Half - Jane Lofthouse
Centre Half - Debbie Green
Right Back - Jackie Crombie
Left Wing - Lauren Richardson
Midfield - Debbie Aylward
Midfield - Nicky Bryan
Right Wing - Krista Hultquist
Striker - Louise Gaskin
Striker - Cara McCulloch

Striker - Sue Jackson
Striker - Anneka Willis
Katie Halls
Michelle Trigg
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