Wood make their second trip this season to Merseyside this weekend when they visit Haig Avenue, home of Southport FC for the first time in their history. Following on from a fruitful visit to Tranmere Rovers back in August when Wood bagged a superb victory, it is hoped for more of the same given Wood’s current League position.
Altrincham’s fine 3-1 win over Woking in midweek leaves Luke Garrard’s men in the bottom four and with just 6 wins from 29 games an upturn in results needs to come sooner rather than later. Recent League form has slowly improved, with Wood losing just twice in their last ten outings, but a raft of draws has not helped the cause.
Wood’s recent slow upturn in fortunes pales into insignificance compared to that of The Sandgrounders. Since the appointment of Dino Maamria as Manager in late November, the transformation has been second to none.
Tunisian born Maamria has both played for and managed Southport previously. He has an ominous Northwich Victoria connection too, having kept them in the Conference North back in 2008!
Following on from his managerial spell there he has been honing his managerial skills as a faithful number two to Graham Westley, spending seven years under him at both Stevenage and Preston North End.
If Maamria, Southport’s 7th manager in two and a half years had begun his tenure at the start of the season, his charges would be sitting 3rd in the table with his haul of 23 points from 11 games. He has tasted defeat just twice, those coming in the shape of narrow 1-0 losses, to Eastleigh and latterly Forest Green Rovers who stole the points last Tuesday at Haig Avenue with a 91st minute winner.
The Tunisian’s 5 out of 5 wins in December rightly earned him the Manager of the Month accolade.
Southport are yet another ex League Club that Wood will be keen to test themselves against. The Sandgrounders enjoyed League status from 1921 right up until 1978, when they were historically the last team ever to be relegated under the old re-election process.
Since then they became inaugural members of the Conference North back in 2004, which they won at the first time of asking. After two seasons in the top flight of Non League football they were relegated. However after finishing up as losing play off semi finalists twice they swiftly rejoined the National League as Champions at the end of the 2009-10 season.
The current player to watch is 24 year old leading scorer Louis Almond. He signed from Hyde United on transfer deadline day one season ago and has found the net in the League on ten occasions to date.
With Chairman Danny Hunter kindly subsidising luxury coach travel for the Wood Army this weekend, it is hoped that the fans will have a day to remember (again) up on Merseyside.
Southport v Boreham Wood.
Saturday January 30th, kick off 3pm.
The Merseyrail Community Stadium