STALYBRIDGE CELTIC travel to Vanarama North high-fliers Salford City tomorrow (Saturday) for Steve Burr’s first league game back at the Bower Fold helm. And the returning manager has already rung the changes.
Into the squad come midfielders Rob Bourne (Trafford), Keano Deacon (Fleetwood Town) and Mathias Bakare (Aveley) alongside keeper Callum O’Neill (work experience loan from Oldham Athletic).
Bakare marked his debut with a fine goal in Tuesday’s Manchester Premier Cup semi-final win over tomorrow’s opponents.
Leaving the club are Sefton Gonzales (to Stockport County), Adam Morning (retired), and Chris Baguley and Florian Da Silva (released).
Further changes are expected as Burr looks for the right mix to pull off what looks to be an unlikely escape from relegation to the Evo-stik League Premier Division.
On the injury front Kristian Platt returns to the squad after recovering from a groin strain but it has been confirmed that long-term victims Jay Gorton, Nick Ryan and Sam Tatum will all miss the rest of the season.
Goalkeeper Hakan Burton is rated as only 50/50 for CURZON ASHTON’s home encounter with Alfreton after picking up a knee injury in training on Tuesday. That means Cameron Mason has been recalled from his loan spell at Mossley.
Ian Howard is expected to be out for two weeks with a recurring pelvic problem.
It’s one in and one out for ASHTON UNITED in the Evo-stik NPL premier division. Left-sided central defender Max Cartwright has been signed on an initial one-month loan from Stockport County, while Joe Connor has been allowed to join Droylsden.
Tomorrow, the Robins visit Coalville, the club immediately below them in the table, looking to arrest a run of three defeats from their last four league matches.
Co-boss Jody Banim said: “At Hurst Cross we’re blowing teams away and have won six on the bounce. What we have to do is improve our form away from home. We need to shore up at the back and that’s where Max should help us. We could potentially make another signing too.
“We suffered at Barwell because we didn’t have Nico Maiese, Matty Chadwick and Jack Dyche. Our squad’s only small and we really struggle when we have so many out. Fortunately Nico and Matty are back and Jack finishes his suspension tomorrow.”
Tranmere Rovers have agreed to let on-loan keeper Luke Pilling stay at Ashton until the end of the season.
In the first division north, MOSSLEY will be looking to follow up their success in the midweek six-pointer at Radcliffe by beating second-bottom club Goole at Seel Park.
Will Jones replaces the recalled Cameron Mason in goal. Dan Johnson is sidelined after suffering a broken cheekbone from an elbow at Radcliffe, and striker Liam Ellis is doubtful after rolling an ankle. However, Curzon Ashton have cleared centre-back Andy Watson to play and co-bosses Peter Band and Lloyd Morrison are hoping to sign a defender in time for the match.
New signing Danny Stapleton, a speedy winger, has been training with Oldham Athletic and has represented England at futsal, an indoor, five-a-side version of the game where the ball is smaller and less bouncy, increasing the need for skill and improvisation.
Band commented: “Danny’s slight but very fast and can play on either wing. He’s in the squad but he’s really one for the future.
“Having Andy Watson is a major plus for us and I really hope we can get the defender we’ve been talking to.
“Goole are going to be interesting opponents. We’ve both let in 67 goals but we’ve scored 55 while they’ve only managed 26.”
DROYLSDEN take on Trafford at the Butchers Arms and former Ashton defender Je Connor goes straight into the squad. Another signing could be in the offing.
Liam Caddick is doubtful after suffering a bug. Clayton McDonald is expected to miss out again. Shaquille Clark is back in training.
Matt Beadle returns to the HYDE UNITED line-up after being left out of the midweek Cheshire Senior Cup win over Altrincham as a precaution following a knock.
Otherwise the Tigers host Kendal Town with a full squad apart from Chris Sutherland.
Hyde have signed 21-year-old New Mills striker Tunde Owolabi who scored four times in the reserves’ 8-1 defeat of FC United at the start of the month.
Midfielder Eddie Moran is the only absentee for GLOSSOP NORTH END who welcome Radcliffe Borough to Surrey Street.
The Hillmen have hit a rare patch of inconsistency, having lost six of their last nine games.