PICKERING Town boss Paul Marshall is looking forward to going into Saturday’s game against Sheffield FC “fresh” as he remains optimistic about last weekend’s postponement.

Because of a frozen pitch, the Pikes’ Evo-Stik League east division game at Pontefract Collieries was called off – exactly what Marshall did not want heading into December.

Sheffield fared only slightly better at Yorkshire rivals Tadcaster Albion, playing 15 minutes before the game was abandoned due to intermittent floodlight failures.

But Pickering, having only featured in one match since a hectic November, would miss the game-time more than the Club - Sheffield's nickname, referring to their claim to be the world's oldest existing football club - who have, at least, made it across the white line three times this month.

Marshall said: “We needed a game and it was a shame it was postponed, but in hindsight, the weather conditions were too poor and I was pleased it wasn’t on.

“I went to the Tadcaster-Sheffield game and the conditions were a joke before it got postponed.

“Obviously people, players and staff work all week to play on Saturday. But you can’t do anything about the weather and you just have to plough on.

“Sheffield have had more game-time than us in the last three weeks, so they have match fitness over us, but we can come into it fresh.”

Eighth-placed Sheffield are the joint fourth-highest scorers in the division, hitting the net 36 times in 17 games. They are, however, one of only two clubs to break even with goal difference this term, having conceded a further 36 times.

The Club had a perfect record in November, winning three from three, but are yet to claim a maximum haul in December, drawing 1-1 at Lincoln United and losing 2-1 at home to Brighouse Town before the Tadcaster Albion game.

Founded in 1857, the Derbyshire-based outfit - they moved to Dronfield from the Steel City in 2001 - had their history recognised by FIFA in 2004 when becoming one of only two clubs to hold the the governing body's Order of Merit, with the mighty Real Madrid being the other.

Since the creation of the Northern Counties East League in 1982, Pickering and Sheffield have met 33 times, with the Club winning 17 times to the Pikes’ nine.

The two clubs’ last meeting, in February 2007, ended in 1-0 victory for Sheffield. This was the final game in an eight-match winless league run for Pickering.

The Ryedale team's last league victory against Sheffield came in April 2003, while the last time Pickering took all three points against Sheffield at Mill Lane was in September 1995, although the Pikes did beat them in a 2004 FA Vase home tie.

Marshall is not concerned about this record, however, nor does he believe Pikes fans will be.

“It means nothing to me,” he said. “Nobody would remember a stat like that.

“The only thing I know about Sheffield is they’re the oldest club in the world and it will be nice to welcome them to Mill Lane.

“Sheffield have scored a lot of goals but they’ve conceded a few as well. It will be an interesting game.

“From what I saw on Saturday, they’re a lively team and they’ve got pace about them. I couldn’t say too much about the game itself, but they’ve got some young, energetic players in the team.

“It’ll be a tough game, but they’re all tough.

“We’re unbeaten (in the league) since October 6. We took a couple of months to get used to the league but we’ve improved the team, we’ve improved the squad and we’ve improved how to win at this level.”

There are no new injury concerns for Pickering ahead of Saturday.

Meanwhile, Dan Davison and Matty Turnbull have joined Goole AFC on dual-reg. Both featured for the NCEL premier division struggler at the weekend, with the game-time particularly important for Turnbull, who has been absent for the Pikes for almost two months.