GLOSSOP North End are up against the big boys tomorrow (Saturday) even if they are facing a club from a level below them in the non-league pyramid.
Ryhope Colliery Welfare, who are at Surrey Street for an FA Vase second round tie, play in the second division of the Northern League. According to manager Chris Willcock, who saw them beat Bottesford 2-1 in a first-round replay, they are a very tall side.
“I don’t think they had a single player under 6ft. Physically, they have to have one of the biggest line-ups I’ve seen. They’re a big, big side,” said Willcock.
“Although Ryhope are a level six outfit they are quite an ambitious club by all accounts. Their squad includes some experienced ex-professionals including three or four former Whitley Bay players - some of whom played in the Vase-winning sides.
“We’ve had a really good month here at Glossop. We’ve had a couple of really tough league games and come through with flying colours, so we’re quietly confident. But Ryhope will be no pushovers.
“It’s a cup match, a one-off, and Northern League clubs are very strong in the FA Vase. Five out of the last six winners have been from up there and for me West Auckland are this season’s favourites.
“I expect it to be a good contest and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Willcock has no injury problems other than Sam Hare who has been out for more than a month with a damaged abductor muscle.
Hyde have another two new faces in the squad for their Vanarama North game at Chorley. Goalkeeper Connor Hunt joins the Tigers on a month’s loan from Everton. The 18-year-old was part of the Blackpool side that reached the third round of the FA Youth Cup last year.
Matt Flynn has been signed from Southport. A defender, he has played for a succession of non-league clubs including Macclesfield and Altrincham. Flynn made 11 Football League appearances for Rochdale before joining Fleetwood Town.
Defender Daniel Mukuna has joined Kendal Town until January to gain match fitness.
McNiven’s only absentee is centre-back Kelvin Lomax who is unfit.
Stalybridge Celtic will be looking for their first win in 11 games when they take on Oxford City at Bower Fold.
Defender Nathan Heath returns from a one-game suspension as Celtic look for only their second clean sheet of the season. Striker Liam Dickinson and defender Matty Hughes are both available but will miss Tuesday’s trip to Gloucester City through suspension.
Manager Keith Briggs has no injury worries but striker Anthony Malbon will not be in the squad.
Alex Brown, Simon Woodford and Danny Shaw all return for Curzon Ashton who are home to Matlock Town in the Evo-stik NPL premier division. However, Simon Lakeland and Jonathan Hunt both have one-match bans.
Manager John Flanagan has signed defender Tom Eckersley on a dual registration from Vanarama North club Fylde.
Matty Warburton and Jordan Knight are both described as a few weeks from fitness. Centre-back Andy Watson has a prolapsed disc in his back and is expected to be out for a lengthy period.
Ashton United travel to Witton Albion without Jay Gorton, Martin Hill and Sam Egerton. Mat Chadwick has become the latest Robins player to join Salford City.
In the first division north, Shaun Holden is suspended for Droylsden’s visit to Spennymoor.
Tom Dean and Tom Pratt are 50/50 for Mossley’s game at Prescot as a result of knocks picked up last week. Arron Hevingham and John Bennett are both fit for selection. Ross Davidson has left Seel Park to sign for Kidsgrove Athletic.