In contrast to 12 months ago, Witton Albion start a Christmas derby as favourites to beat their tenants.
However Carl Macauley’s men have played only one league fixture during December, a 5-0 win against Romulus three weeks ago, and have slipped from the play-offs places as a result.
Vics will have a new man at the helm following Adam Lakeland’s resignation last week; Paul Moore, who left Colwyn Bay a fortnight ago, picks the team.
Witton have played 13 games in league and cup at Wincham Park this season, avoiding defeat in each of them.
And only Stocksbridge, after a stalemate in October, have prevented Carl Macauley’s men from scoring a goal in that sequence.
Northwich have had an unhappy time on the same pitch, losing six of their 11 Northern Premier League games on it.
Vics have not won any of their past half-dozen Division One South fixtures either, although they did complete a double – winning both fixtures 2-1 – over their landlords last season.
Man to keep an eye on
Made his debut for Witton in last Saturday’s aborted game with Carlton after switching from Northwich the previous evening.
The young forward has impressed for Vics this term, scoring eight goals, and is likely to be tasked with accompanying leading scorer Rob Hopley in Albion’s attack with Steven Tames injured and Tolani Omotola suspended.
Carl Macauley watched his side’s opponents in a 1-1 draw with Belper a fortnight ago, but may call on the 19-year-old’s insight into his old club.
Albion team news
Matty Devine serves a one-match suspension, while Paul Williams (knee) and Steven Tames (ankle) are both ruled out by injury.
Rob Hopley’s hamstring will again be assessed before kick off, while teenager Jamie Hinchliffe could make his debut against a club he left last week.
Another attacker, Stuart Callaway, has received international clearance in time to play after returning from a spell playing in Sweden.
Vics team news
Defender Matthew Regan remains an injury doubt after missing last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at Stocksbridge.
That proved to be midfielder Michael Brewster’s final appearance for the club, and he has since switched to Shaw Lane.
Stuart McDonald, a forward, is new boss Paul Moore’s first signing since he was appointed as successor to Adam Lakeland.
The teams met this time last season?
Vics occupied top spot in Division One North after winning 16 of their first 18 matches, and established a 2-0 lead after scoring either side of the break through Gary Burnett and Richie Bennett.
Rob Hopley replied for Albion with 20 minutes to go, but their tenants protected their advantage to register a derby double.
Here’s how we reported it: http://bit.ly/2ipCY7f
Most recent meetings
Vics 2-1 Witton (NPL Division One North, December 28 2015)
Witton 1-2 Vics (NPL Division One North, August 31 2015)
Vics 0-1 Witton (Conference National, December 27 1993)
Form (past six in league)
Witton W W L W D L
Vics L D L D L D
Address Witton Albion FC, NetDec Stadium, Chapel Street, Wincham, Northwich CW9 6DA
Kick off 3pm
Admission Adults £9, Concessions (OAP) £6, Students £4, Under 15s Free