TWO games, two draws – zero surprises. That’s the story so far for NWCL champions GLOSSOP NORTH END as they get used to life in the Evo-stik NPL first division north.
Manager Chris Willcock said: “Although we could be going into tomorrow (Saturday’s) game at Prescot Cables with two wins rather than two draws, I’ve haven’t encountered anything I wasn’t expecting.
“The early results have only confirmed my convictions that things are going to be very tight. Clubs are already dropping points and I’m sure no one’s going to run away with the title.
“From our point of view we have room for improvement and we’ll be tweaking a few things. But we’re not conceding goals and if we can start scoring I’m sure we’ll find ourselves in a healthy position.
“One thing that particularly pleased me was the 471 crowd we got against Spennymoor. It was the biggest crowd on the day in either of the first divisions and shows what magnificent support we have.”
Willcock has confirmed his summer signings as strikers Ashley Stott (Witton) and Jamie Rainford (Skelmersdale), winger Astley Mulholland (Chorley) and midfielder Bobby Lofthouse (Stockport).
Tom Bailey, who missed the midweek game at Ossett Albion with a hamstring strain, is unlikely to play at Prescot but should return for Tuesday’s clash with Droylsden at Surrey Street.
Unbeaten MOSSLEY are home to Clitheroe who won 5-1 at the Butchers Arms in their last match.
Striker John Bennett has returned from his brief spell at Curzon Ashton, and Tom Dean, Sam Howell and Josh Greenhalgh are all available for selection. However, Ryan Hibbert has gone on holiday and will be unavailable for ten days.
In the final first division north fixture, DROYLSDEN entertain New Mills, a side managed by Andy Fearn and former Manchester City goalscorer Shaun Goater.
Only four days after a heavy defeat, the Bloods have major defensive problems with Ben Hampson, Andy Langford and Danny Ting all ruled out.
Striker Scott Spencer has tonsillitis and will miss HYDE UNITED’S premier division game at Ramsbottom. Spencer, who was also unavailable for the midweek defeat at Colwyn Bay has a chance of returning for Monday’s home clash with Marine.
Ayrton Bevins, who scored twice in the opening-day draw with Grantham, has a groin strain but should be fit.
Ryan Masterson and Andy Jones have knee injuries. Lee Gregory has a damaged calf.
Paul Phillips and Steve Halford have a fully fit squad for ASHTON UNITED’s match at Stamford. Kevin Leadbetter and Max Harrop have been made available to other clubs so that they can get game time.
In Vanarama North, STALYBRIDGE CELTIC face unbeaten Solihull Moors at Bower Fold.
Manager Liam Watson is giving midfielder Danny Wisdom right until the last minute to recover from the groin injury that has kept him out of the first four games.
Following Tuesday’s 3-1 defeat at Gainsborough, Watson is expected to shuffle the pack as he looks to find a potent partnership from his pool of four strikers. Adam Farrell came off the bench to open his account in midweek and must be confident of regaining his place.
Still looking for their first National League win, CURZON ASHTON head for Alfreton Town. The only absentee is Connor Hampson who is recovering from a knee ligament problem. John Bennett has returned to Mossley and Tom Buckley has been released.