THE fact that South Shields are hot favourites to win the Evo-stik NPL first division north title doesn’t worry Mark Canning in the slightest.
GLOSSOP NORTH END’s new caretaker manager believes his side has more than enough talent to win at at Surrey Street tomorrow (Saturday) and become only the third club to inflict a league defeat on the Mariners this season.
“We won’t be there just to make up the numbers, that’s for sure,” said Canning. “Paul Phillips and Steve Halford assembled a squad that can compete with the top three. These lads can play good football and I’m hoping to get a nice little reaction from them.
“If the players listen, do their jobs and perform like they can, then there’s going to be some fun. We’ll be going out there to play football for 90 minutes and I certainly won’t be parking any bus.
Canning was appointed caretaker boss at Surrey Street on Tuesday, a day after Phillips and Halford were announced as co-managers of Buxton. He has the job until the end of the season. The Glossop board are inviting applications for the post and Canning admits it’s something he would definitely consider.
In the meantime, he has spent what he says has been a very hectic few days dealing with comings and goings. He has appointed former Bury, Hyde and Stalybridge striker Andy Bishop as his number-two, and signed goalkeeper Russ Saunders to replace Paul Phillips.
Jude Oyibo (who was also registered with Curzon Ashton) and Callum Chippendale have both joined their former managers at Buxton. James Aspinall has been recalled by Bolton.
Canning said: “I’m up against it as the transfer deadline is on Thursday but I do have plans to make signings and it’s not impossible that Andy will turn out.
“It’s been difficult to do anything so far because things have been very hectic and we didn’t have time to put seven days in for anyone. I also needed to know who was staying and leaving so that I knew what gaps needed filling.
“But as I’ve said, Paul and Steve left me a fantastic squad. They’re fantastic guys and I wish them all the best.
“If we can pick up some results who knows what might happen? You could say we’re going to get a baptism of fire tomorrow but isn’t that what football’s all about? Just watch this space.”
With freezing weather forecast for the weekend, there will be a pitch inspection at Surrey Street at 8.30am.
After unexpectedly losing at Ossett Albion in midweek, HYDE UNITED have received the good news that Luke Porritt will be fit to play against promotion rivals Bamber Bridge at Ewen Fields.
Porritt sustained mild concussion in last weekend’s victory at Droylsden, which man the Tigers had to travel to Yorkshire on Tuesday without any of their recognised wide men. Tom Pratt and Chris Sutherland remain injured.
Although DROYLSDEN have still not won a game in 2018 they have shown signs of a revival recently. After giving Hyde a torrid time last Saturday, they held Bamber Bridge to a 2-2 draw on Tuesday and were winning with 11 minutes left.
However, they will have to face Prescot Cables at home tomorrow without Danny Ventre, Alex Frost or Ben Barber, all of whom are injured. Dylan Smith is suspended.
MOSSLEY have signed midfielders Mike Jones and Tyrell Palmer on loan from FC United as they prepare to visit Brighouse Town.
James Blair returns after almost a year out with an ankle injury, Tom Dean is available after completing a two-match ban, and Fylde keeper Max Povey should start.
In the premier division, STALYBRIDGE CELTIC face mission impossible when they visit their bogey ground, Moss Lane, to play NPL champions-elect Altrincham.
Bridge have won there only once in 23 visits since 1992 — a 2-0 Cheshire Senior Cup triumph in 2003.
Manager Steve Burr has a fully fit squad to choose from as his team embark on a minimum 16 games in six weeks run.
Wide man Theo Bailey-Jones returns earlier than expected after suffering a hamstring injury in the win at Warrington in mid-February.
Jack Dyche comes into the mix for ASHTON UNITED who go to Stourbridge. The Scunthorpe striker has returned to Hurst Cross on loan until the end of the season.
Aaron Chalmers is the only injury absentee. Rick Smith has left the Robins to sign for Radcliffe Borough.
Manager Jody Banim said: “I’m really excited about Jack coming back as he’s going to freshen up the front three. We believe in him and he just needs to knuckle down and get some games.
“Previously he scored 18 goals in 36 matches for us, none of which were penalties. That’s a decent record for a kid of his age.
“As for Rick, he wanted to play and I couldn’t guarantee him enough games.
“Aaron’s injured but he’s not far way from a return. When he comes back it will give us a few good headaches in terms of selection. We’re not too far from full strength which is good because we’re getting to the business end of the season.”
Regarding Tuesday’s defeat at Coalville, Banim added: “We could have won. Obviously I’m disappointed because it kind of killed our momentum but we’re still third. We have to make the most of the games we have left.”
In National League North, CURZON ASHTON’s match at Blyth Spartans has already been called off because of a waterlogged pitch.
The Nash won’t relish having to travel up to Northumberland on a Tuesday night but the postponement gives more time for Niall Cummins (knee) and Matt Regan (groin) to recover.