BY NICK WILSON
After a dramatic penalty shootout defeat in midweek, Basingstoke return to league action with a trip to promotion hopefuls Hereford. It is sure to be a tough task in front of what’s likely to be the largest crowd encountered this season, with the Bulls averaging gates of just over 2,200.
Hereford’s quest for a third promotion in three years since reforming from the ashes of Hereford United has so far seen them to 5th place in the league with 39 points. They’re 5 points behind the rest of the teams in the playoff positions and 12 away from leaders Kings Lynn, but with several games in hand. Basingstoke by contrast sit 17th with 24 points.
The home side are sure to be given extra motivation by the opportunity to play themselves into the squad for Thursday’s FA Cup replay at home to League One side Fleetwood Town as they aim to secure a home tie with former Premier League champions Leicester in January.
Ben Wright will miss out as he serves the second game of suspension while George Bennett returns after completing his and Shane Hollamby is in line to reclaim his place in defence. Sam Argent is also available again after being cup tied for the Winchester match while Dan Bayliss will be looking to complete his second match in four days after missing six weeks with an ankle injury. Basingstoke will also hope for good news regarding Michael Atkinson as the midfielder inches closer to a return.