SKIPPER Ross Wilkinson believes Durham City will reap the benefit of their week off when they face league leaders Curzon Ashton this afternoon.
City came through the winter months without losing a fixture to the weather, meaning they had played more games than any other side in the division.
And last weekend they found themselves without a fixture as the rest of the division caught up with some of their games in hand.
City dropped two places to tenth as a result, but Wilkinson says a rest at this stage of the season will have done the players a world of good – especially with a difficult game against Curzon at New Ferens Park to come.
He said: “We had played more games than anyone else so we always knew that there was a chance some of the other sides could overtake us when they played their games in hand.
“But from our point of view, having a free weekend in March is a good thing. Normally, players can start to feel the effects of a long season at this stage, so the rest will have done us good and given one or two players a chance to recover from knocks and be raring to go again.”
City lost 3-0 at Salford City in their last outing a fortnight ago, but have still won five of their last seven games.
With seven games to go, they remain in with a chance of making the play-offs but games in hand could yet be a factor.
Despite their week off, City have still played more games than all their rivals – and fifth-placed Lancaster, who occupy the final play-off spot, have played three games less than the Citizens.
Curzon ended a run of four games without a win by clocking up back-to-back victories against Warrington Town last Saturday and then Bamber Bridge on Monday, which was enough to see them go top.
Wilkinson said: “We are still fighting for the play-offs and we can’t afford to drop points.
“Curzon are a good side but we know we are capable of beating anyone on our own pitch if we play to our maximum.”