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.