PLAYER movements registered with the Evo-stik Northern Premier League from Sunday, December 2, to 11am on Saturday, December 8.
Richard Baker Curzon Ashton to Colne
Sam Baird FC United to Droylsden (short-term loan)
Tom Scott Glossop North End to Runcorn Linnets
Jamal Crawford FC United to Stalybridge Celtic (short-term loan)
Michael Jones FC United to Stalybridge Celtic
Andrew Scott Accrington Stanley to Stalybridge Celtic (youth loan)
Weekend Non-league Football Previews
IT’S by no means the easiest game to start with, but when CURZON ASHTON run out at Broadhurst Park tomorrow (Saturday) new manager Mark Bradshaw will have the ideal chance to prove the doubters wrong and show he has what it takes to be in charge.
Even though the Nash are four points above FC United in Vanarama North, many are viewing them as underdogs in what will be a keenly contested local derby. And according to Twitter, Neil Reynolds has gone so far as to assure his club’s faithful that the Rebels will record their first home league win of the season.
Bradshaw has already gone on record as saying that managing Curzon will be one of the proudest moments of his life, and that he can’t wait for the match.
He has his fingers crossed that Connor Hughes will come through a knee scan successfully and be able to play. But striker Adam Morgan is unavailable as he is about to go into hospital for an operation to repair a stomach muscle.
Keenly aware of the shortcomings at ASHTON UNITED, manager Jody Banim has signed a trio of defenders on loan to shore up a back lines that has conceded 43 goals in 17 league matches.
Former Chester man James Jones comes in from Salford City; Liam Goulding has been at Altrincham, Warrington and Accrington; and Tom Stead is a product of the Preston North End youth system.
However, while he may have strengthened his defence, Banim has to go to Blyth Spartans without a recognised centre-forward. It’s a position where the Robins have struggled since Craig Hobson’s departure.
He said: “We have four big players out, which means there are only 16 fit men in the squad. Liam Martin has a damaged hamstring, Matty Chadwick can’t play, Mark Lees has a broken jaw and Josh Askew took a knock a kneecap in midweek.
“We’ve just got to keep going. Nobody ever said playing in this division was going to be easy. We have a tough Christmas programme but we need to start racking some points up.”
In the Evo-stik NPL premier division, STALYBRIDGE CELTIC manager Simon Haworth is ringing the changes as he looks to end a three-game losing streak. The Bridge boss, who was very unhappy with last week’s showing at Bamber Bridge, has brought a trio of players.
Andrew Scott is an 18-year-old Northern Irish striker signed from Accrington. Winger Jamal Crawford and midfielder Michael Jones, both come from FC United, with Stalybridge striker Chris Sharp heading in the opposite direction.
All three go straight into the squad for the home game against Stafford Rangers who are managed by former Celtic boss Steve Burr.
Haworth will be without full-back Scott Wilson, who has been recalled his parent club, Burnley. A calf injury rules out winger James Caton.
HYDE UNITED manager Darren Kelly is faced with something of a mixed bag as he prepares his team to visit league leaders Scarborough.
All suspensions have been completed, but Jerome Wright and Luke Porritt are definitely out and Janni Lipka, Grant Roberts, Matty Hughes and Kyle Harrison are all undergoing treatment and face late fitness tests.
If the bans haven’t quite cleared up at MOSSLEY they are close to doing so. Adam Jones is back to face Clitheroe at Seel Park in the first division west, and Steve Mason has only one game left to serve.
Kieran Nolan and Kyle McGonigle have both regained fitness, and Izzy Miranda has had the plaster removed from his broken hand and should be fine. Mason Duffy has resumed training.
The only doubt is Dieter Downey, who has a groin strain.
Michael Brewster missed DROYLSDEN’S visit to Prescot Cables. Clive Smith and Moussa Samassa have been released, with Moussa — a 6ft 6ins centre-half — joining GLOSSOP NORTH END who are away to top of the table Runcorn Linnets, midweek victors over Hyde in the Integro Cup.
Two other recent additions to the squad are Joel Ankers, a 17-year-old forward who was a member of Curzon Ashton’s quadruple youth team, and Italian striker Cody Ruberto from Egerton of the Cheshire League.
Otherwise the Hillmen are at full strength.
IF there’s any truth in the old adage that the best way to learn to swim is to be thrown into the deep end, Mark Bradshaw is about to find out.
Barely nine days after stepping up from the coaching staff to replace John Flanagan, he begins his reign as Curzon Ashton manager with the small matter of a derby at FC United. It could hardly be a more demanding start, but Bradshaw can’t wait.
“When we step out at Broadhurst Park it’ll be a massively proud moment for me. I’m very excited. Managing a club at this level is something I’ve been looking forward to for a number of years and I can’t wait,” the new Nash boss explained.
“Every game is tough in this league — there are no easy ones as they’re all good sides. I went to watch FC United last Saturday and they’re a good young team. Neil Reynolds has implemented his way of playing since he took over in October but after a good start they’ve lost their last three.
“On Saturday we’ll have to apply some method and hopefully we’ll take something from the game. My task is simple. We have to win as many points as we can.”
Bradshaw insists the sacking of Flanagan and assistant Ian Nevison was as much of a shock to him as it was to everyone else. Even though he wanted the manager’s job, and expected to be offered it one day, he was surprised to get the call from the Tameside Stadium board at the end of last week.
He said: “I’ve seen all the comments on social media and Twitter, and they were entirely understandable. John and Ian did a magnificent job but the decision has been made by the directors, and they made it in what they see as the best interests of the club. Now, we’ve just got to get on with it.
“Since it was made it’s been a whirlwind few days for me and I’ve been working non-stop to focus and get things organised.
“I was genuinely surprised to be offered the job, although the way the directors had spoken to me over a long period of time I did expect the opportunity would be there once John moved on. But I never ever thought it would happen when it did.”
Although the decision to sack Flanagan after seven years of unprecedented success has been condemned by many on the Greater Manchester non-league football scene, a sizeable section of Curzon fans believe it to be right.
One long-time supporter said: “John did a good job but he went stale. We’ve only had one home league win all season. We want to see better performances from the players — to be entertained — hopefully Mark Bradshaw can do that. We needed to freshen things up with new blood.”
The new manager met the players last Saturday when there was no league match because Guiseley were playing in the FA Cup. He was accompanied by three directors and the squad were invited to ask questions and voice any concerns.
Bradshaw added: “We followed up with a training session and they all worked very hard. I tried to explain the little changes I’m going to be making but that process will start properly tonight (Tuesday).
“It’s all about putting my stamp on things. It’s different methods and the way I think we can improve because that’s my job — to get that bit more out of the team and get better results.
“Hopefully people are aware of my success with the youth and junior teams. I’m big on young players pushing through. I want to further the junior set-up at Curzon Ashton. I want a strong side that has the correct values.
“Like everyone else, I want to see attacking football but there’s no point in saying we’ll play a certain way all the time. The type of game we play will depend on what’s going to get us results. We’ll be taking every match on an individual basis and considering what will be best on the day.”
Weekend Non-league Football Previews
A TITLE, a promotion and a run to the second round of the FA Cup have proved insufficient to save John Flanagan who was sacked as manager of CURZON ASHTON last night (Thursday).
In a brief statement, the club cited poor results as its reason. Veteran chairman Harry Twamley added: “We believe the present team can do better. So, with regret, we decided we had to make a change.”
The news was greeted with surprise across Tameside and in Greater Manchester. Flanagan, who took over at the Tameside Stadium in 2011, has to be the most successful manager in Curzon’s 55-year history.
Under his leadership, the Nash constantly punched above their weight in National League North, which they reached via the play-offs in 2015. Even though this season — their fourth in the division — has not gone as smoothly as before they are still in 14th place.
Yet for all his achievements over the last four years, Flanagan has always been unpopular with certain sections in the club, and it’s understood he had to survive a confidence vote over the summer. On the other hand, he admitted to occasionally questioning himself this season, wondering whether he had been at Tameside Stadium too long.
Curzon’s directors lost no time in appointing a replacement. This afternoon they announced the job had gone to long-serving first-team coach Mark Bradshaw, a former Blackpool, Macclesfield and Halifax player.
The Nash have no game tomorrow (Saturday). Bradshaw’s first match in charge will be on Saturday, December 8, when they are away to FC United.
As a result of the FA Cup, ASHTON UNITED also have a free day. They return to action on Tuesday when they face Alfreton Town at Hurst Cross.
In the Evo-stik NPL premier division, HYDE UNITED face Grantham at Ewen Fields with a string of absentees.
John McCombe and Ross Daly must both serve one-game bans for accumulated bookings, and there are serious doubts over Matty Hughes, Kyle Harrison and Tom Pratt.
On the plus side, defender Dom Smalley’s loan from Chester has finally gone through and Janni Lipka comes back after suspension. Grant Roberts returns after missing the Warrington defeat and long-term injury Chris Sutherland has been responding well to a new form of treatment on his Achilles tendon.
STALYBRIDGE CELTIC will be without full-backs Scott Wilson (ankle) and Josh Solomon-Davies when they travel to Bamber Bridge.
Manager Simon Haworth expressed disappointment with the display his side gave when losing to Workington in the FA Trophy last week and is expecting a big improvement as the Bridge look to stay in contention for the play-offs.
In the first division west, co-boss Dave Wild returns to the dug-out for MOSSLEY after completing a three-game touchline ban.
For the visit to Newcastle Town he has several players unavailable. Steve Mason still has two games left of his six-match suspension for back-to-back red cards, and Adam Jones has one game left of a four-match ban.
There are doubts over Mason Duffy (hamstring), Kieran Nolan (ankle) and Dieter Downey (groin). Izzy Miranda has a broken hand but should be able to play.
It remains to be seen if the absences will allow Wild to make the changes he promised after the 2-0 home defeat by Kendal, when he felt obliged to apologise for what he described as a shambolic second-half performance.
He added: “I’ll be quite frank. There are lads who just played in that game who won’t play for Mossley again.”
Paul Marshall comes back for GLOSSOP NORTH END at Colwyn Bay but Mitch Bryant starts a three-match suspension.
DROYSLDEN are at full strength for their visit to Trafford.
PLAYER movements registered with the Evo-stik Northern Premier League from Sunday, November 18, to 11am on Saturday, November 24.
Max Hazeldine from Glossop North End to Clitheroe
Keenan Quansah from Mossley to Glossop North End
Connor Simpson from Preston North End to Hyde United
Patrick Wharton from Stalybridge Celtic to Marine (youth loan)
Curtis Jones from Glossop North End to Trafford