12:00pm Tuesday 27th July 2004
THE Dr Martens Western title race will be thrown into the melting pot this Saturday when Bromsgrove Rovers and Merthyr Tydfil - the two main pretenders for the crown - go head to head at Penydarren Park.
Just two points separate the sides, in favour of the Martyrs, at the top of the league and the result could have a huge bearing on the ultimate destiny of the championship.
Victory for Gary Hackett and Jon Ford's side would see them leapfrog Merthyr to lead by a point whereas defeat would hand the Welshmen a five-point advantage.
Rovers joint manager Gary Hackett, who hopes to add two unnamed players to his squad by Thursday, therefore heads to South Wales with one main priority in mind.
"It think it is vital we don't get beat," he said. "We are a positive side and go into every game looking for three points. But even if we lose, it is not the end of the world."
The match takes on an extra edge as Merthyr Tydfil brought Rovers' unbeaten run in the division to an end when they won 2-1 at the Victoria Ground at the end of October.
And only last week, Andy Beattie's side, beaten 2-1 at Rugby United last Saturday, knocked Rovers from top spot. Rovers' 0-0 stalemate with Weston last Saturday was not enough to change that.
Hackett added: "They were the first team to beat us and it would be nice to go down there and really show them what we can do."
But Rovers will have to do that without James Dyson, who has left the club following a dispute over money. He parted company last week but has not yet moved to another club.
Hackett said: "There was a difference of opinion but James Dyson has been superb for us."
And Steve Frost is rated as 50-50 for Saturday after needing six stitches in his ear following a clash against Weston.
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