Following back-to-back defeats Paul Caddis’ side will need to quickly respond against Blyth Spartans at Edgar Street tomorrow.

Previously, I’ve scribed in hope that certain stubborn opponents could finally be defeated and sent home empty-handed. To date, our visitors from beyond the Wall were the opposite being perfect visitors, defeated every time without even being impolite enough to upset our goalkeeper. They also used to be very hospitable at home though I’m going to draw a black curtain over events in our last two almost back-to-back trips.

Famously, Blyth players do proper Spartan conditions by always travelling on the day. Their points gathering away from home is better than our own with a 5-4-6 record which revokes the old question can we justify our players staying overnight? Its age aold question. Home and away, Blyth are unbeaten in their last six games. That’s play off form with Spartans only 3 points behind us.

Spartans started the season almost suspiciously well, had a full-on slump winning only once in 13 and then picked up with 7 points from 9. That was obviously a cue to sack manager Graham Fenton. Quite why is impossible to know from this distance. Taken over in the hot seat for his managerial debut us his former assistant Jon Shaw. He was a 6-foot striker who played 150 games for Gateshead plus had years traversing EFL Clubs. He joined Blyth as a player coach and did make 6 appearances in 23/24, all at centre back. He’s been lucky to acquire a winning team and they have continued to pick up points. For once, they may not be sweating about relegation. We’ve touched before on the plethora of footballing Dickmans in the north east. Blyth now have their own – recently appointed as assistant manage, Lewis Dickman the ex Spenny manager.

Top scorer is the wandering JJ Hooper. The striker has made 17 moves in the last 11 years. He was a nuisance for Gloucester alongside our very Topper last year and has 8 goals this term in just 14 appearances. That including 4 in the last 5. Unusual move for a part-timer to move from Gloucester to Blyth.Spartans have scored far more league goals than Hereford, 25% more. For this visit, there is a danger our previously pristine bedwear might get stained.

Two old stagers provide their on-field leadership. Nicky Deverdics (36) has played 110 times for Blyth – in five different positions this season. His veteran partner is midfielder JJ O’Donnell (32) with nearly 130 games though he’s missed the last few. One more name to mention is defender Jack Bodenham, our former loanee who is first choice in central defence. His predecessor moved to Darlington last summer as a step up. Bet he regrets that now. Talking of old stagers, the average age of the Blyth board is 67 and its likely the £650,000 debt showing on their balance sheet is owed to them, monies which may never be repaid.

The day of the Blyth game (Saturday February 3) is also significant because it’s the Talking Bull print deadline, end of the sweaty period when the editors see how many promises are turned into reality. The plan -if sufficient people help us- is to go on sale on Saturday February 17th v Tamworth.

Blyth (

As ever, BBC Hereford & Worcester as well as Radio Hereford FC will bring you live coverage if you really can’t be there.

Simon Wright

By Editor

Lifelong Hereford supporter who has endured the rise and fall of the club through progressive generations. Sports journalist, broadcaster and commentator who will never forget his Edgar Street roots.

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