Leamington vs Alfreton Town: How to watch, kick-off time, team news, predicted lineups and ones to watch
On-loan Burton Albion goalkeeper Callum Hawkins has kept four clean sheets since arriving at the end of February. (Photo by Tim Nunan)

You can't blame Leamington fans for getting excited about their Birmingham Senior Cup final against Stourbridge at Villa Park on 4 May, but they still have work in the league to do before and after then - starting with the visit of Alfreton Town on Saturday.

Tickets went on general sale on Wednesday, and with the Brakes already selling out seven fans coaches excitement is building. There are, however, three National League North fixtures to play between now and the final starting with this Saturday's game. 

Saturday places the form side in the league away to the Warwickshire outfit who have all but secured their safety in the sixth tier for another season but are sitting rock bottom of the form table having not won in six.

The Brakes do come into this fixture off the back of two draws, their latest against title challengers Brackley Town last Friday whilst the Reds thrashed York City 3-0 on Easter Monday.

  • Team news

The hosts have been hit hard with injuries this season, Kelsey Mooney's recent injury meaning that the former Scunthorpe and Aston Villa man will be out for most of the calendar year. Mooney had his operation last Wednesday and is in good spirits.

Dan Turner has now managed to get through two full 90 minutes since returning from injury, and Steph Morley is coming back but was forced to be subbed after he pulled up in the latter stages of the Brackley fixture. 

There are no known absentees in the Reds camp.

  • Predicted lineups

Leamington: Hawkins, Meredith, Morley, Gittings, Mace, Lane, Williams, Walker, Edwards, Turner, Kelly-Evans

Alfreton Town:  Willis, Clackstone, Wiley, Branson, Sutton, Smith, Ceesay, Lund, Rhead, Southwell, Hobson

  • Ones to watch

AFC Telford United captain Adam Walker made the switch to the Bucks' fellow National League North side midway through the season. The experienced centre midfielder has commanded the Brakes' midfield ever since joining and his knowledge of the level is always going to be a positive for a side like Leamington.

His dynamic range of passing coupled with fantastic vision has led Walker to fill the gap of injured Simeon Maye fantastically, and many fans are excited to see Walker link up with Maye when he is fully fit.

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Matt Rhead has proven to be a pain in the side of most National League North sides this season. Still kicking it at 37, the 6 ft 4 striker signed for Alfreton in July 2021 and has scored ten league goals for the Impact Arena outfit. 

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  • Previous meeting

League form doesn't give an indicator for cup ties and that was true in November as Alfreton knocked out fourth placed Leamington of the Buildbase FA Trophy. 

Having already beaten the Brakes in the league, Alfreton did the double and audible boos were heard from the home fans that stayed to the final whistle at Your Co-op Community Stadium with the Derbyshire visitors winning 3-0. A second half Bailey Hobson hat trick ended Leamington's Wembley dreams for another season.

  • What the managers have said

After their 0-0 draw with Brackley, Leamington manager Paul Holleran praised his side to Leamington FCTV saying that "I can't praise (the players) enough, I really can't. This lot, they're just a good bunch of good people who give you everything. We're doing a lot right, but final third - we're not the only team in the league struggling to score goals."

With The Irish Rover blaring in the background celebrating the win over York CityReds assistant manager Mick Carroll told Alfreton's media team of his praise for Leamington despite the interviewer slightly playing down their upcoming games against "Leamington and Curzon Ashton" as a potentially easier game than "the Kidderminsters and the Yorks".

Carroll however argued that "you can't be off it in this league" and declared "Leamington is a tough place to go, I mean he's done a fantastic job has Paul, and I have a lot of respect for the job him and his coaching team have done there and we know we're going to have to go there and be at it."

  • Key clashes

Alfreton have done something in both games that teams have found it tough to do this season - break down the Brakes. Leamington have the best defence outside the top four having only conceded 43 goals in their 38 games but it is their goalscoring abilities that have let them down as they are the second lowest scorers in the league with only Guiseley scoring less. 

James Mace was still on loan at Bromsgrove Sporting for both games earlier in the season but Leamington's record appearance holder will cherish the opportunity to face off against fellow 37 year old Matt Rhead for the first time this season as Kyle Morrison accompanied Jack Lane at the back in the two other fixtures.

  • How to watch

There will be no television coverage of this National League North fixture, however live radio coverage is available on BrakesLiveFM and live updates on both teams' social media.

Kick-off at Your Co-op Community Stadium is 15:00 BST.