VICTORY over Nelson at Surrey Street tomorrow will clinch the North West Counties League championship for GLOSSOP NORTH END.
It seems inconceivable that the all-conquering Hillmen could miss out on making the title their own, but FC United’s midweek defeat at Skelmersdale shows that it is possible to stumble on the finishing line.
Even if Nelson were to snatch an against-the-odds win, there’s always the chance Runcorn Linnets might lose at West Didsbury, and Glossop get a second bite of the cherry on Monday night when they are home to 1874 Northwich.
“It’s incredible to believe we’ve got to the stage where we’re on the verge of achieving something for which we’ve been striving for the last ten months,” said manager Chris Willcock.
“Everybody’s looking forward to the game and, while we’re in no way complacent, I’d love to get things boxed off tomorrow if we can. That would give my very tired squad the chance of a break before our two cup finals.
“But Nelson are an experienced side and they won’t make things easy for us. I’m sure they would love to be party poopers.”
Willcock has no injuries in the squad but there are a lot of tired and aching limbs. Tomorrow’s game will be the 14th they have played in a month and their eighth in a fortnight.
“I expect us to be bright and breezy from the first minute but I’m not so naïve as to think there’s no chance of a lull. Even with a big squad and rotation, some of the lads have played 60-odd games. But that’s where our hard work and preparation has paid off,” added Willcock.
“Fortunately, we’re at Surrey Street and there’ll another big crowd. That will lift us if the tiredness kicks in and I would really like to clinch the title in front of a home crowd.”
In the Evo-stik NPL the two Ashton clubs continue their fight for play-off places but CURZON have a trio of absentees to contend with ahead of their game against Halesowen Town at the Tameside Stadium.
Luke Horrocks misses out with a throat infection and Simon Woodford and Ryan Brooke are still sidelined with hamstring injuries. On the plus side Connor Hampson and Andy Watson are back in light training but are unlikely to return this season.
Things are better for ASHTON UNITED who are away to Whitby Town. The only man missing is Keith Briggs who has stitches in a knee after sustaining an injury in the first half of last week’s defeat at Barwell. Gary Gee returns.
In the first division north, MOSSLEY have lost the services of Matty Purcell who has gone to work in the USA. Otherwise they have a full squad to face Clitheroe at Seel Park.
Midfielder Peter Dogan misses DROYLSDEN’S trip to Ossett Town as he starts a lengthy suspension having been sent off in each of the Bloods’ last three matches. Defender Danny Ting is also unavailable.
STALYBRIDGE CELTIC travel to Hednesford Town for their last away Vanarama North fixture of the season looking for the win that will all but banish the spectre of relegation.
Bridge will be without defender Matt Regan who is serving the second part of a two-game suspension, but manager Liam Watson otherwise has a full-strength squad to choose from as he looks to stretch his unbeaten run at the Bower Fold helm to six games.
Should Celtic win it will be their first victory at Keys Park since 1995 when Brendan Burke was the scorer of the only goal.
Stalybridge’s fate is currently in their own hands, with two wins from their last three games being enough to keep them up regardless of what relegation rivals Colwyn Bay, Brackley and Leamington achieve in their final two fixtures.
However, neighbours HYDE could do them a favour by beating Brackley at Ewen Fields.
Striker Ryan Masterson is very doubtful for the Tigers having sustained a badly bruised instep and a swollen ankle playing against Stockport County on Tuesday.
Tomorrow is Hyde’s last home game of the season and fans are hoping it will not be the last time they see managerial team Gary Lowe and Martyn Booty. However, with only a week of the Vanarama season left, the club has still not made any announcement about their future.