Salford City host Boreham Wood at The Peninsula Stadium on Saturday for the first ever meeting between the sides (KO 15:00).
It’s a meeting between two of the form teams in the division; The Ammies are unbeaten in eight while Boreham Wood, who lost in the play-off final to Tranmere Rovers at Wembley at the end of last season, haven’t lost in six and are just two points behind Salford.
However the division’s newcomers are unbeaten at home, and haven’t conceded a goal since August, or in over 400 minutes of football.
Despite winning their opening game, Boreham Wood hit an early rut as they then went four games without victory. But a recovery run of six games unbeaten including four wins and two draws has lifted them right up the table and into the play-off places.
In amongst that run was a defeat in the Irn Bru (Scottish Challenge) Cup, which The Wood were invited to compete in after being one of the top four teams in The National League who weren’t promoted – Sutton United are the other side. After a 0-0 draw with Dunfermline Athletic, Luke Garrard’s side lost 5-6 on penalties.
Having been so close to promotion to the Football League last season, expectations have been set high at Meadow Park this season.
Tuesday night’s 4-0 demolition at Sutton United came as a surprise to a few in the league, not because they were underestimating The Wood but because Sutton themselves have been in good form and that was their first defeat at home.
Perhaps the most significant aspect to Tuesday’s win is the help it has done for Boreham’s ‘Goals For’ column. Having lost strikers Morgan Ferrier and Bruno Andrade in the summer, Garrard has brought in a couple of strikers on loan, with Justin Shaibu scoring his first goal and Josh Umerah staying top of the Wood’s goalscoring chart with four for the season. On Thursday afternoon they announced the season-long loan signing of Gozie Ugwu from Chesterfield.
There was a slight dampener to Tuesday night as Reeco Hackett-Fairchild and Angelo Balanta were both withdrawn in the first half with injury so may be unavailable to Garrard.
The recent stats look good for Boreham Wood though as they are six unbeaten with four wins and two draw, and they’ve conceded just twice in their last four games.
One to watch – Ricky Shakes
The Brixton-born winger has been at Boreham Wood for over five years now and is in his sixth season at the club after signing from Kidderminster Harriers.
Although not a regular goalscorer, the Guyana international has been a regular part of The Wood’s line-ups over the last few seasons and helped them to promotion in 2014-15 with nine goals in 40 appearances. Last season he bagged three in 42.