ASHTON United have a great chance to step up the pressure on neighbours Curzon at the top of the Evo-stik NPL premier division.
Going into the Boxing Day fixtures, the fifth-placed Robins, who have a game in hand, are five points behind the Blues, who are second. What’s more, Ashton are the form side having won their last three league matches. Curzon’s form has been patchier. They lost 4-2 at home to Grantham and were 2-0 down at Marine when a floodlight failure caused the match to be abandoned.
John Flanagan’s team are home to FC United on Friday which should ensure a big crowd at the Tameside Stadium. Darren Thornton and Simon Lakeland could be back in the reckoning after suffering the bug which has affected so many people. It remains to be seen if Tom Schofield has recovered from a calf strain.
Gary Gee and Paul Phillips are still banned for Ashton who are at Ramsbottom. Chris Baguley – who scored one of the goals against Belper – and Martin Pilkington have both had the winter virus and could miss out.
Phillips and partner Steve Halford were hoping to make at least one signing ahead of the match.
In the first division north, Mossley co-boss Peter Band’s worries are about the state of the New Mills pitch rather than his squad, where everyone is available for selection.
On Tuesday, Glossop won 4-2 at Church Lane in the Derbyshire Senior Cup. Band is concerned that the effects of that tie, recent heavy rain and predicted sub-zero temperatures will put the game in doubt.
Ben Deegan and Danny Caldecott will both be available for Droylsden who need a win to revive their flagging promotion push. Spanish striker Alberto Villena Cortes, who was signed from Velez CF Espania on Christmas Eve, comes into the squad.
Chris Willcock has no injury worries as Glossop North End prepare to meet Stockport Sports at Surrey Street. He said: “My only frustration at the moment is to get league games played.”