IF John Flanagan has any injury worries for tomorrow (Saturday’s) FA Cup first-round tie at Midlands League Westfields, he’s not admitting to them. The message from the Tameside Stadium is that the CURZON ASHTON squad is at full strength and raring to go.
The only players definitely out are long-term absentees Andy Watson and Simon Woodford.
According to the Hereford Times, Westfields manager Sean Edwards has warned his squad that none of their places is guaranteed following the 4-0 home defeat by Coleshill last week.
“One or two of them may have put their position in jeopardy," said Edwards. “We never won a tackle or any battles and for the first time this season none of them performed.
“They have had huge praise, but we’ve now lost two league games, which is a bit of a concern. We shouldn’t be worrying about what the next game is, we should be focusing on each game as it comes.
“Players have patiently been waiting for an opportunity and potentially they may get a place this weekend.”
Team captain Phil Glover said his team-mates want to put the Coleshill performance behind them and show everyone what they’re about.
“Maybe it was a blessing in disguise because we’re now even more focused,” he commented.
“We know it’s going to be tough, but we have shown we can play football and can beat higher-graded sides. We’ve had
Curzon watched and it’s a potential banana skin for them.”
Despite Hereford FC playing at Edgar Street, which is only 500 yards away, at the same time, Westfields are still hopeful of attracting an attendance of around 1,000. Earlier today they had sold 762 tickets.
The gates at allpay.park will be open from 11.30am, with refreshments available.
In National League North, the strength of STALYBRIDGE CELTIC’s tentative recovery will be put to the stiffest of tests.
After back-to-back victories they travel to table-topping Fylde who are yet to lose a league game at their new Coronation Way ground.
Adam Morning and Josh Heaton both scored in Tuesday’s Cheshire Senior Cup win over Cammell Laird and will be available for selection, as will Liam Dickinson who was forced to sit out the last two games because of eligibility issues.
Celtic will be without long-term injury victims Jay Gorton, Keil O’Brien and Sam Tatum as they look to make another stride away from the relegation places.
ASHTON UNITED co-boss Jody Banim doesn’t mind admitting he’ll be glad to see the back of Marine after losing to the Crosby club twice in four days. However, if Saturday’s FA Trophy defeat was down to a poor performance — so poor that he became wound-up and was sent off for two bookings — he says Tuesday’s Evo-stik NPL premier division reverse was caused by having only 11 fit players and a lack of attacking options.
“I thought we were a little unlucky and that 4-1 flattered them a bit. The two Marine results weren’t great but we’ve got to look forward and I’m sure we’ll get there.
“We’re home to midtable Mickleover tomorrow and we’ve got Frickley and Corby coming up, so we really need to come back to winning ways if we want to stay near the play-off places,” said Banim.
Loan player Dominic Smalley has returned to Hurst Cross from Salford and Oldham player Lee Knight will be staying until the end of the season. Will Haining and Chris Baguley are set to return and Ashton are hoping to make two key signings in the next week.
“The side is gong to be quite a bit stronger and by December Jack Dyche and Ryan Crowther should be back,” added Banim.
“Mickleover will be a good challenge as they’re in a similar situation to us in the table. I know their player-manager, John McGrath, as we were together at Burton. They have a big strong lad up front in Clinton Morrison and two experienced centre-backs but there’s a lot of young players too including the team captain, Lewis Belgrave, who’s only 17.”
In the first division north, October club of the month GLOSSOP NORTH END could have their two new signings in the side for the game at Clitheroe. Midfielder Nicky Platt has come in from Trafford and defender Kyle Jacobs previously played for FC United, Stockport County and Chorley.
Manager Chris Willcock says he has no injury concerns.
DROYLSDEN visit Radcliffe Borough who gave Hyde a football lesson in midweek, beating them 4-0.
New signings goalkeeper Hilaire Moutemi and former Hyde United midfielder Andreas Bianga come into squad. The only injures are Phil Clarke and Cesaire Amour Lingouba.
MOSSLEY visit Ramsbottom without Tom Pratt, who starts a three-game suspension. Co-manager Peter Band describes Andy Keogh and Jason Hill as 50/50.
Darren Kelly has lots of absences to contend with as he tries to pick up his HYDE UNITED side after their midweek mauling at Stainton Park for a difficult match at Farsley Celtic.
Adam Jones, Andy Pearson, Adam Thurston and Ryan Ellison are all out, and Joe Pugh starts a ban for being sent off at Ossett.
Dave McGurk comes back and James Burke has completed his suspension.