A WEEK after beating seemingly unstoppable leaders Fylde, CURZON ASHTON face another promotion-chasing club in National League North tomorrow (Saturday).
They visit fifth-placed Darlington with only one injury. Midfielder Joe Guest has a knee ligament strain and is likely to be out for two weeks.
The FA have told John Flanagan they will be taking no further action following the red card he received at Tamworth on January 7. The Curzon boss commented: “I always knew it was scandalous.”
STALYBRIDGE CELTIC take on Telford United at Bower Fold desperate for a win to help them close the gap at the bottom of National League North. Last weekend’s 2-2 draw at fellow strugglers Gainsborough has left them 12 points from safety.
Bridge will be without midfielders Kristian Platt (groin) and Gary Gee (ribs), but skipper Matty Hughes has recovered from the ankle injury that caused him to miss Tuesday’s Cheshire Senior Cup extra-time defeat at Crewe and will start.
Also expected to be in the starting line up is new man Sefton Gonzales. The striker, signed this week from Colne, has been brought in to bolster the lowest scoring attack in the league.
On the debit side, long-term injury victim Jay Gorton is expected to miss the rest of the season after his cartilage operation had to be cancelled because he had contracted an infection.
Curzon and Stalybridge meet at the Tameside Stadium on Monday evening.
In the Evo-stik NPL premier division, ASHTON UNITED head east to take part in a clash of two in-form teams. The Robins have won four games on the bounce while hosts Grantham are unbeaten in 12 matches, of which they have won ten.
Two new faces will feature in the Hurst Cross squad: striker Jack Dyche, who is back until the end of the season after having been recalled by parent club Scunthorpe United, and goalkeeper Luke Pilling who has signed on a month’s loan from Tranmere Rovers.
Co-boss Jody Banim commented: “I went to watch Tranmere play at Warrington in the Cheshire Senior Cup and Luke was exceptional. His kicking was unbelievable and his distribution was impressive too.
“It’s a massive plus to have Jack back because not only did he score three goals in four games when he was with us before Christmas, but he complements Ryan Crowther and Matt Chadwick. We’ve got pace throughout the side now and its scaring opponents.
“There were three areas Will (Haining) and I wanted to improve — a third striker, a centre-back and a goalkeeper, and we’ve got two out of three. We’re so nearly there. If we can get the third player and stay free of injuries I believe we can make a very strong finish.
“We’re full of confidence at the moment and I’m really looking forward to the game at Grantham.”
Wide player Johnny Gorman has been allowed to return to Curzon Ashton.
In the first division north, DROYLSDEN will be looking to stretch their unbeaten start to 2017 to seven games. It’s a remarkable run that has taken them into the top half of the table and within sight of the play-off places.
However, tomorrow’s game at Kendal is in doubt and there will be a pitch inspection at Parkside Road at 9.30am.
Wide man Billy Hasler Cregg has returned to the Butchers Arms and was on the bench for Tuesday’s draw with Farsley. Striker Tom Peers has recovered from a bug. Clayton McDonald faces a fitness test.
MOSSLEY have a full squad for the visit of Tameside neighbours HYDE UNITED, but striker Mike Fish has signed for Brighouse Town.
The Tigers have two injury concerns — winger Ryan White and striker Chris Sutherland. It’s thought the starting line-up could be the same as the one for Tuesday’s match at Ramsbottom which could not go ahead because of floodlight problems.
Eddie Moran and Nicky Platt are again the only absentees for GLOSSOP NORTH END who travel to Ossett Town.