LUKE CLARK misses CURZON ASHTON’s Vanarama North encounter with fourth-placed Halifax Town tomorrow (Saturday). The midfielder picked up a fifth booking at Gloucester last week and must serve a one-match ban.
Striker Jordan Wright is doubtful for the Tameside Stadium clash with a recurring ankle ligament strain.
Simon Woodford has returned to full training and Danny Shaw could be back by early December.
Danny Hall will be in the STALYBRIDGE CELTIC squad travelling to Tamworth. The Altrincham player was signed today to shore up the National League’s weakest defence.
Co-managers Paul Phillips and Steve Halford are sweating on the fitness of Keil O’Brien and Nick Ryan, and are still without long-term injury victims Jay Gorton and Sam Tatum. O’Brien could make a return from a hamstring injury tomorrow or in Monday’s Manchester Premier Cup tie at Curzon. Club skipper Matty Hughes could be the surprise choice to make way.
Scott Spencer is expected to start up front after Liam Dickinson’s loan expired. The ex-Stockport and Celtic striker returned to Bradford Park Avenue earlier this week.
The odds are heavily stacked against Stalybridge. Tamworth are looking for their fifth win in a row while Celtic have lost eight of their last nine league games.
In the Evo-stik NPL premier division, ASHTON UNITED travel to bottom club Corby Town still stinging from last Saturday’s defeat by another relegation-haunted outfit, Frickley Athletic.
Co-manager Jody Banim said: “It was a massive, massive disappointment to lose to Frickley. They’re down at the wrong end of the table for a reason and we should have taken advantage, especially as we had a few players back from injury.”
Banim declined to comment on team matters except to welcome back Jack Dorney. The midfielder played the full 90 minutes of the midweek Integro Cup victory over Warrington and, the co-boss said, did very well.
It’s thought the Robins have more injury problems but Banim refused to confirm or deny. He said: “It’s important we get something tomorrow because we’ve got two games against Spennymoor coming up and by the time of the second match we should have four or five players coming back.
“We’ve had quite a few approaches for our players over the last few weeks — most recently for Mark Lees — but I’m glad to say they’ve all been turned down. I think the lads can see what Will and I want to do here. I just wish we could keep a settled side.”
In the first division north, club of the month GLOSSOP NORTH END, who are top of the table, visit sixth-place Bamber Bridge. Eddie Moran and James Hurtley are injured. Otherwise Chris Willcock has a fully fit squad.
HYDE UNITED head for Ramsbottom with Sam Heathcote and Mark Dempsey both needing fitness tests. Ryan Ellison is struggling to shake off a toe injury and James Burke is suspended.
Manager Darren Kelly said: “I hope the game goes ahead, but if it was called off it would give the squad a chance to recover. As well as those needing tests we got some other niggles.”
Danny Pilkington’s loan from Stalybridge has been extended and the Tigers are hoping to do the same with Harry Coates.
DROYLSDEN face promotion challengers Farsley at the Butchers Arms. Dave Pace’s only worries are centre-half Phil Clarke and Cesaire Amour Lingouba.
New signing Glyn Cotton comes into the squad. Cotton, a vastly experienced 30-year-old midfielder, joins the Bloods from Rugby but has made 400 appearances in the Evo-stik NPL for clubs like Stocksbridge and Belper.
A one-match ban — incurred for a sending-off while playing for Winsford — rules Dale Jennings out of Mossley’s game at Scarborough. Tom Pratt, Dougie Carroll and Tom Fisher all return.