Saturday match previews
BAD weatheris the worry as clubs prepare for tomorrow (Saturday’s) games. And if Bower Fold – currently under a blanket of snow – is unplayable for Stalybridge Celtic’s Vanarama North six-pointer with Bradford Park Avenue, their fans will have to wait for the unveiling of new loan signing Michael Potts.
Potts, a midfielder, has arrived on an initial month’s loan from Conference North leaders Fylde.
Should the game go ahead it will be the final one of Matty Hughes’s four-match ban and he will return to the squad for next weekend’s derby trip to Stockport County.
Kelvin Bleau faces a late fitness test after missing last Saturday’s 4-1 defeat at Tamworth with a groin strain. Stefan Galinski is also doubtful after limping off with a knee injury but Nathan Heath will be back in the squad after recovering from a stomach bug.
There could be two new faces in the Hyde squad if their game at Guiseley is played. A pitch inspection is due at Nethermoor at 10.30 in the morning.
The Tigers have brought in midfielder Ben Holmes from Huddersfield Town, and defender Perry Ng from Crewe Alexandra, both on a month’s youth loan.
Holmes, an Oldhamer, can play in a variety of positions across the middle and appeared in Huddersfield’s 2-1 victory over Manchester United in last season’s FA Youth Cup.
Ng (pronounced en-gee) can play anywhere across the back line.
Ashton United have everyone available for their Evo-stik NPL premier division home match with Nantwich Town. Curzon Ashton hopefully head across Manchester to Trafford but still without Simon Woodford (hamstring), Joe Guest (banned) and Simon Lakeland (thigh). Alex Brown returns after suspension.
In the first division north, Droylsden will be hoping to pick up their first league win since New Year’s Day when they entertain Brighouse. An inspection of the Butchers Arms pitch is due for 9.30am.
Peter Dogan and Jake Hibbs are both out. Shaun Myler faces a late fitness test.
Matty Burke has left the club, but the Bloods have signed defender Danny Ting from Ossett Albion.
Mossley’s game with Farsley has already been called off because of heavy snow on the pitch. Had it been played they would have been without Dougie Carroll who is still injured. However, Matty Purcell and Tom Dean are now available. Eder Ruiz has been loaned to Congleton Town.
In the North West Counties League, Glossop North End’s home match with 1874 Northwich is in doubt because of snow on the pitch although there are hopes it can be cleared in time if conditions are not too bad overnight.
Manager Chris Willcock has not injuries or suspensions to worry about.
Weekend match previews
STALYBRIDGE Celtic will be without the suspended Matty Hughes when they travel to in-form Tamworth tomorrow (Saturday).
Kelvin Bleau faces a late fitness test after being felled by a stray elbow in the 2-2 draw with North Ferriby.
Celtic are looking to extend a five-match unbeaten run but Tamworth have won 11 games in a row and will present a formidable test for Keith Briggs’s men as the Bridge look to climb clear of the Vanarama North drop zone.
Liam Dickinson is expected to continue in defence after a man of the match performance last week.
The mass clear-out continues at Ewen Fields where Hyde face fellow strugglers Gloucester tomorrow seeking their first win since Gary Lowe’s return as manager at the start of the month.
Adam Blakeman has joined Scottish League One side Ayr United and Matt Flynn has moved to Chorley. Adam Blakeman is a doubt with his ongoing back injury. Reserve keeper Josh Broadbent has been brought into the first-team squad as cover.
In the Evo-stik BPL premier division, Curzon Ashton are away to FA Cup stars Blyth Spartans.
Alex Brown and Joe Guest remain suspended and Simon Lakeland (thigh) and Simon Woodford (hamstring) are both injured.
Neighbours Ashton United take on Workington at Hurst Cross with a fully fit squad.
Droylsden will be out to end their recent slump when they travel to Cumbria to play Kendal Town. On-loan midfielder Jake Hibbs is injured, while counterpart Shaun Myler faces a late fitness test.
Tonsillitis has ruled Dougie Carroll out of the Mossley squad for tomorrow’s home clash with Ossett Town. Matty Purcell is unavailable because of work commitments.
Tom Dean and Brian Matthews are both close to a comeback having trained this week.
Glossop North End’s are hoping it’s third time lucky in terms of their FA Vase fourth round tie at Worksop which was called off last Saturday and again in midweek.
Manager Chris Willcock said: “The players are all available and ready to go. It would just be nice to be able to play a game.”
Bloods and Mossley in derby clash Weekend football previews
DROYLSDEN and Mossley clash at the Butchers Arms in tomorrow’s big Evo-stik NPL first division north game.
The Bloods go into it having lost two players. Kevin Leadbetter has moved to Ashton United and Adam Morning has joined Salford City. However, defender Natt Kerr has returned.
Otherwise Dave Pace and Aeon Lattie have a fully fit squad.
Mossley have no injuries or suspensions to worry about. Matt Cross has signed for North West Counties League leaders Runcorn Linnets but the Lilywhites retain his NPL registration.
Centre-half Andy Pearson returns for Hyde tomorrow and should start in their Vanarama North game at Lowestoft Town.
Pearson, who has been signed from Nantwich Town, was part of manager Gary Lowe’s championship squad of 2011-12 before going out on loan to Guiseley the following season.
Kyle Brownhill is also back in the side but Adam Thurston remains sidelined with a back injury. Connor Hughes has recovered from a knock picked up in training.
Stalybridge Celtic take on North Ferriby United at Bower Fold looking for their fifth win in a row and their best sequence of results since 2008.
Liam Dickinson is again available after completing a four-match suspension but Matty Hughes begins a four-game ban for being sent off at Ewen Fields on Boxing Day.
Otherwise, manager Keith Briggs has a fully fit squad to choose from and is expected to give Steve Brogan his home debut after a substitute appearance in last week’s victory at Colwyn Bay.
In the Evo-stik NPL premier division, it’s one in and one out for Ashton United who visit Matlock Town.
Alongside Kevin Leadbetter’s move to Hurst Cross, Chris Baguley has gone to Ramsbottom United in search of regular first-team football.
Otherwise everyone is fit and the squad is free of suspensions. Co-boss Paul Phillips admits to working on another signing while a third has been “blown out of the water”, presumably for cash reasons.
Luke Horrocks is fit for Curzon Ashton, who take on Stamford at Tameside Stadium hoping to get their title challenge back on track. However, Alex Brown and Joe Guest are both suspended, and Simon Lakeland has an injured thigh.
Jordan Wright is making progress with a knee problem but is still not ready to be included in the squad. Ryan Watson and Andy Watson remain long-term absentees.
Glossop North End visit Worksop Town in the fourth round of the FA Vase. “We’re all fit and raring to go,” said manager Chris Willcock.
“YOU’RE going to see two teams that play the right way and want to score goals. Potentially, it could be a classic.”
Those few words sum up manager Chris Willcock’s feelings about Glossop North End’s FA Vase fourth round tie at Worksop Town on Saturday. He is expecting a day to remember with a crowd of anything up to 700 at Babbage Way as the sides battle it out for £2,000 in prize money and a place in the last 16.
Although they resigned from the Evo-stik NPL last season, Town have retained their support in the Northern Counties East League, and the Hillmen are taking three coachloads of supporters plus those travelling independently.
“Worksop are a really good football team. They’re very much like ourselves in that they like to attack and score lots of goals. I expect it to be very close and I just hope we come out on top,” said the Glossop manager.
“Their boss, Mark Shaw, is very experienced and has been manager at clubs like Sheffield and Retford. He’s got some experienced players as well as some really talented young lads who were at professional clubs and want to make their way back into the league.”
The Town squad includes midfielders Connor Sellars, son of former Blackburn Rovers player Scott Sellars, and Jack Waddle, whose father is England winger Chris Waddle. Also at Babbage Way is striker Chris Whincop who was on Hyde’s books at the end of last season.
Worksop currently sit third in the NCEL premier division table, eight points behind leaders Tadcaster but with two games in hand. Their record is not dissimilar to that of the Hillmen, who are locked in a very tight North West Counties League championship race.
However, postponements are beginning to worry Willcock as his side do their best to close the 12-point gap on Runcorn Linnets, albeit with five games in hand.
“We had a very good run-up to December but since then the number of call-offs has spoiled our momentum. The lads have worked hard. They’re keeping their fitness up and are in high spirits, but the momentum thing is a concern to me. The only way we’ll get it back is by playing games,” commented Willcock.
“Fortunately, we haven’t done badly with injuries. There have been times when our physio, George Bryson, has had to patch a few people up but the only bad injury we’ve had is Sam Hare.
“The majority of the players are in really good shape but having said that there’s still almost five months of the season left and things could quickly change. I’ve got my fingers firmly crossed that they don’t.”