Weekend Non-league Football Previews
ASHTON UNITED have no room for error tomorrow (Saturday). If they want to make sure of a home tie in the Evo-stik NPL premier division play-off semi-finals on Tuesday, they must win at Workington.
Goal difference means it’s highly unlikely the Robins would miss out on the play-offs altogether, but a defeat or draw at Borough Park could allow Grantham to overtake them. A victory, on the other hand, might even get them into second place depending on Warrington’s fortunes at Stourbridge.
“That Stalybridge game killed us,” said manager Jody Banim. “We should have won it, and if we had we’d be second now. It’s so frustrating.
“At least as it stands everyone will have to put their strongest side out. No one will have the luxury of being able to rest players because everybody needs to win.”
Ashton’s only definite absentees are goalkeeper Dave Carnell, who has a torn hamstring, and club captain Mark Lees, who has a broken metatarsal. However, Alex Johnson, whose availability has been hampered by his new job as a prison warder, will be able to play at Workington and in the play-offs if necessary.
Banim is also hoping to field Matty Chadwick at some point. He explained: “Matty was on the bench at Matlock in midweek but it was a really tight game and it wasn’t the right situation to bring him back. Hopefully he can get some minutes tomorrow.
“We really need to win and secure third place because it would be a nightmare if we had to go to Grantham on Tuesday.”
STALYBRIDGE CELTIC travel to Halesowen for their twelfth game in 22 days with only 13 players available, and one of those faces a fitness test.
Striker Matty Wolfenden limped out of last night’s 5-0 home defeat by Witton Albion and will be assessed before kick-off.
Goalkeeper George Sykes-Kenworthy, who has made an impressive start at Bower Fold, is ruled out with concussion which means that Aidan Winterbottom will be between the sticks after featuring as an outfield substitute in the Matlock and Witton matches.
The game signals the end of Steve Burr’s tenure in the Bower Fold hotseat after it was announced earlier this week that his contract would not be renewed.
In the first division north, promoted HYDE UNITED sign off with a home clash with Colwyn Bay. Victory would even let them finish second, in the unlikely event they win by a four-goal margin and Scarborough lose to Ossett Albion.
Manager Darren Kelly has a full squad to call on apart from long-term absentee Chris Sutherland. Tom Pratt has recovered from a broken toe and made a big impact at Mossley last week when he came on as a substitute.
Elliott Rokka has been recalled by Tranmere and Dominic McHale has returned to Salford City.
The player of the year presentation will follow the match and next season’s home and away kits will be unveiled.
DROYLSDEN, who are home to Brighouse Town, have goalkeeper problems. Will Jones is injured — he was stretchered off with a broken foot in the 3-1 midweek victory over Colwyn Bay — and Richie Branigan needs a fitness test.
GLOSSOP NORTH END take on Ramsbottom at Surrey Street without Adam Jones (calf) and Cav Coo (neck). MOSSLEY travel to Tadcaster lacking the services of James Blair and Danny Hall.
CURZON ASHTON are another club with two players missing. They head for Harrogate Town without Chris Rowney and Niall Cummins, but safe in the knowledge that they have secured their National League North status for a fourth season.