TO risk or not to risk – that’s the question facing CURZON ASHTON manager John Flanagan ahead of the last week of the non-league season.
The Blues go to Frickley tomorrow looking for a win to give them the chance of finishing third in the Evo-stik NPL premier division, above Ashton United, so that they would have home advantage in Tuesday’s play-off semi-finals. Defeat could mean they miss out altogether.
Sam Walker, who missed Wednesday’s Manchester Premier Cup final which Mossley won on penalties, is still a doubt with a hamstring injury.
“Getting a home game in the play-offs is our major target,” said Flanagan. “But how do we interpret the situation?
“If I leave him out tomorrow we might not beat Frickley. But if I picked him, and his hamstring went, he’d have no chance on Tuesday. If we get the win tomorrow, do I play Sam on Tuesday and risk him being unavailable for the final if we got through.
“It’s a very tough decision.”
Jordan Wright is 50/50 with a groin strain but Simon Woodford has fully recovered from his hamstring injury and available for selection.”
The other big question tomorrow is whether STALYBRIDGE CELTIC survive as a Vanarama North club. Manager Liam Watson, who suffered his first defeat in midweek against Bradford Park Avenue, has no injury worries as he prepares his team for tomorrow’s crunch home clash with Gainsborough Trinity.
On paper Celtic need two points to ensure that they escape the drop, but one will suffice unless Colwyn Bay win by nine clear goals at Worcester. Anything other than a win for the Seagulls, and Celtic and Brackley Town will be breathing a collective sigh of relief.
But Watson will be looking to beat a team who have won only twice on their 29 visits to Bower Fold and have little to play for.
ASHTON UNITED welcome Rushall Olympic to Hurst Cross with only one doubt, team captain Jay Gorton being described as 50/50. Brad Robinson and Kevin Leadbetter return to the squad.
They will also be looking to sign off with a victory so that they get home advantage in the play-off semi-finals.
In the first division north, defender John Bennett is the only absentee for MOSSLEY who are away to Ossett Albion. He starts a suspension for reaching ten bookings.
DROYLSDEN finish off at home to Radcliffe Borough. Three players are out: Nat Kerr, Ben Hampson and Peter Dogan.
Richard Gresty misses GLOSSOP NORTH END’S final game, away to long-time title rivals Runcorn Linnets. Otherwise Chris Willcock has a full squad.
HYDE bid goodbye to Conference North at Tamworth. There are no injuries or suspensions but manager Gary Lowe has yet to hear anything about his future at Ewen Fields with his “contract” due to end after the match.
Club owner Jon Manship is believed to be holding some sort of meeting at his Leicestershire home tomorrow morning to discuss the club’s future.
The FA has indicated it has no objection to the Tigers reassuming their pre-2010 name of Hyde United. A final decision will be made by the FA Council on Tuesday, May 19.