IF there’s any truth in the old saying that one man’s misfortune is another man’s gain, struggling STALYBRIDGE CELTIC might be able to make a dent in the 11-point gap between themselves and safety at the foot of Vanarama North.
The Bridge, who have taken only four points from their last ten league games, travel to the Tameside Stadium on Monday to face a CURZON ASHTON side still reeling from a sickness bug that has swept the dressing room.
“A number of the squad, and even myself, are struggling with a flu-type virus. Fingers crossed all will be well for Celtic’s visit,” explained Nash boss John Flanagan.
Niall Cummins is doubtful because of a knee injury sustained during Curzon’s 2-1 win at Bower Fold on Boxing Day, and influential midfielder Alex Brown is unavailable due to work commitments. However, Simon Woodford returns to the squad.
Stalybridge are hopeful of recalling skipper Matty Hughes. The central defender has missed the last five matches with a back injury but should start in a game that Celtic simply cannot afford to lose. Fellow defender Danny Wisdom has shaken off an ankle knock and will also be in the squad.
Striker Andy Owens has departed Bower Fold and is expected to link up with fellow Vanarama National League North strugglers Altrincham. Spencer, who was sidelined with a damaged knee, has announced his retirement on Twitter saying: “I’ve met some of my best friends through football and I will miss the lads and the goals, but it’s time for me to let it go . . . RETIRED.”
In the Evo-stik NPL first division north, HYDE UNITED manager Darren Kelly has revealed that Andy Bishop has left the club. There was speculation ahead of the Boxing Day derby at Droylsden that the big striker had quit, but in his post-match interview Kelly said he was still on the books at Ewen Fields.
Today, however, the Tigers boss revealed: “Andy’s left us and to the best of my knowledge he hasn’t joined anyone else. He was a true pro and it was great to work with him.”
Kelly added that Bishop might be looking to move into management. He has already been in charge at Southport and was linked with the York City job after Jackie McNamara quit in October.
Kyle Harrison, who missed Hyde’s 2-2 draw with Colwyn Bay through illness, will be back for the home clash with
GLOSSOP NORTH END, as will defender Dave McGurk.
Ayrton Bevins, who has an injured ankle, is still at least two weeks away from a return. Sam Fitton is to see a specialist about his hamstring problem.
The Hillmen, who have won their last two matches, welcome back key striker Jamie Rainford after a four-game suspension.
MOSSLEY are at full strength to face DROYLSDEN at Seel Park. The Bloods’ only absentees are long-term injury victims Shaq Clarke (thigh) and Phil Clarke (broken leg).
Droylsden manager Dave Pace was bitterly upset by the way his side lost to Hyde on Boxing Day, so the Lilywhites could be in for a hard time. Both the Bloods and Mossley were enjoying an improvement in form before losing their respective festive derbies.
Buoyed by their 2-1 victory over Warrington Town, ASHTON UNITED will be hoping for victory at relegation-haunted Skelmersdale, the former club of new signing Benito Lowe. The Robins have no injuries to report.