Belper manager Peter Duffield has revealed his concerns about the trip to Lincoln United last Saturday as midweek injury worries cast doubt over his ability to put out his normal defensive back four.
In the end, the concerns were overcome as the fifth-placed Nailers recorded a fine 4-2 victory that keeps them right in the thick of the Evo-Stik League Division One South play-off hunt.
“Aaron Pride was the first player to tell me he wouldn’t be fit for Saturday after injuring himself when walking his dog, and when Matt Millns tweaked his knee in training on Thursday, I was grateful when Greg Wright and Richard Adams came through after missing Tuesday’s training with strains,” he explained.
“I’m also grateful to Michael Simpkins, who offered to come along as cover because we were short of bodies.
“All things considered, I was really pleased with our attitude against a Lincoln side who have had some notable wins on their own ground this season.”
He continued: “I had this down as a very difficult away trip and for us to go 4-0 up in the manner we did is a testament to our attitude and to our togetherness.
“We did ease off later in the game and, to Lincoln’s credit, they made us pay for it by grabbing two quick goals, but all the hard work was done by then and it was a good lesson for all of us in that you can’t allow yourself to switch off at this level.”
Simon Harrison broke the deadlock with a stunning strike from over 35 yards, staking a claim for goal of the season in the process, and Jon Froggatt popped up with two striker’s goals to add to Steve Warne’s 42nd minute effort.
Lincoln pulled two goals back late on but Belper were well in control by then.
The Nailers hope to have a full strength squad for the visit of Newcastle Town on Saturday with Colin Marrison back in contention after completing a three-match suspension, and, with no midweek fixture, Kidsgrove Athletic provide home opposition the following weekend.
Meanwhile Belper’s second string made progress in the Reserve League Cup in the Central Midlands League with an emphatic 5-1 win over local rivals Holbrook Sports Reserves, but they have no game on Saturday.