AFTER shipping 16 goals in two games the last side you would want to be up against is the one that’s top of the table. But that’s the task facing DROYLSDEN.
Having lost 8-2 at Northwich Victoria and 8-0 at Brighouse, the Bloods are home to Evo-stik NPL first division north leaders Warrington Town tomorrow (Saturday). Assistant-manager Aeon Lattie freely admits he has no idea what to make of the last week’s events.
“We’re bruised — who wouldn’t be? — but we never, ever saw it coming. Those two results were a total surprise,” said Lattie. “There were lots of random mistakes and on Monday everything Brighouse hit went in the goal.
“Because we’d been drawing so many games we changed the shape slightly. We don’t have a 20 goals a season centre forward so we tried to release another midfielder. Maybe that had an effect, or the way we had to warm up at Northwich, or the unrest in the squad caused by other clubs approaching some of the players. I really can’t put my finger on it.
“After losing so heavily to Vics, heads were down at Brighouse and I suppose we were easy meat. But we had a good chat at training last night and hopefully the lads are in the right frame of mind to take on Warrington.”
Lattie and manager Dave Pace have no injury or suspension worries. However, Steve Gibson has returned to Bury at the end of his month’s loan.
Buoyed by their midweek victory Glossop — and on the back of an eight-game unbeaten run — MOSSLEY get the chance to test their mettle against title favourites Northwich Victoria at Seel Park.
The midweek display took its toll on Peter Band’s squad with Caldon Henson and Dougie Carroll both picking up hamstring injuries. On the plus side, Dave Short and Sam Robinson return.
GLOSSOP NORTH END travel to Clitheroe at the end of a strange week in which they beat Harrogate Railway Athletic 5-1 with a less than impressive performance, and then lost to Mossley. Eddie Moran has completed his suspension which means Chris Willcock has no absentees.
In the premier division, Martin Pilkington returns to the ASHTON UNITED squad after recovering from a foot injury. The Robins are at Ramsbottom and need to revive their promotion challenge after allowing a 2-0 lead to slip against Rushall Olympic. They lost 3-2 and have fallen to eighth place, although they have games in hand.
It’s as-you-were for HYDE UNITED who are home to Nantwich Town. Sam Fitton, young Adam Jones and Scott Spencer remain unavailable. New signings Billy Reeves, Adam Jones snr and Kyle Brownhill should make their home debuts.
Before the match there will be a minute’s applause in memory of former player and manager Eric Webster. It will be led by eight former players: Jim Clarke, Joe Clayton, Jack Dobson, Jimmy Elms, Paul Fitzgerald, Jeff Fry, Dennis Middleton and Les Sutton.
STALYBRIDGE CELTIC face their third top-five team in a week when they welcome big-spending Fylde to Bower Fold in National League North.
Manager Liam Watson again has the luxury of a fully fit squad to choose from as they look to bounce back from Tuesday’s disappointing home reverse against Harrogate Town. Midfielder Aaron Chalmers, on the bench in that game after returning from suspension, is expected to regain his place in the starting line-up.
Goalkeeper Hakan Burton is 50/50 for CURZON ASHTON after picking up a wrist injury at Tamworth in midweek.
Jordan Wright requires a fitness test following a hamstring injury, Alex Brown completes the final instalment of a two-match ban, and Joe Guest is 50/50 having picking up a deadleg at Tamworth.
However, Matt Flynn returns to the squad after two months out with a broken foot, and striker Matt Warburton is back having been unavailable in midweek.
Liam Tomsett, who has an ankle injury, is expected to need a further two weeks before regaining fitness.