Article by Mark Bravery
After last Sunday's disappointing FA Cup exit at Cambridge United, Sutton United return to National League action this Saturday (11 November) with a trip to basement club Solihull Moors.
The West Midlands outfit did the double over Sutton last season, winning 3-1 at Gander Green Lane on the opening day, then prevailing 3-0 on their home turf in February, eventually finishing sixteenth. But they have found the going tougher this season, having been stuck in the relegation zone since early August, their only home win coming against fellow strugglers Chester (2-0). Their efforts to climb the table haven't been helped by the concession of 36 goals in eighteen matches, the division's worst defensive record.
This poor form led to the departure of manager Liam McDonald early last month, with his successor, former Cambridge United manager Richard Money, then choosing to leave Moors after only six games at the helm. The club has yet to appoint another manager, with Assistant Gary Whild in temporary charge.
Solihull have lost eight of their last ten league games, their only win in that spell coming at Eastleigh (2-1). Last weekend they were knocked out of the FA Cup 2-0 at home by League Two Wycombe Wanderers.
Sutton, fourth in the table, are undefeated in seven league games, but are set to be without a trio of midfield players on Saturday. Craig Eastmond is expected to be sidelined until next month with ankle ligament damage, Nicky Bailey went off in the first half at Cambridge with a groin injury, while Simon Walton is doubtful because of a hamstring strain. However, manager Paul Doswell has just signed two midfielders on loan until the end of January, winger Tom Bolarinwa returning to Sutton from Grimsby Town and Alfie Egan joining from AFC Wimbledon.
Solihull's team on Saturday is likely to include 20-year old striker Oladapo Afolayan, scorer of six league goals this season, and former Preston North End defender and Republic of Ireland international Sean St Ledger. Afolayan and Sutton's Louis John were both in the England C team that lost 4-0 in Slovakia on Wednesday.