Weekend Non-league Football Previews
EASTER is generally accepted as one of the most crucial weekends of the season. The stakes are high, there are two games in quick succession, and one of them is usually a local derby.
It’s against that background the Dave Wild makes the step up from the NWCL first division, where he was in charge at Stockport Town, to take over at Evo-stik NPL first division club MOSSLEY.
Wild, who was appointed on Thursday after the unexpected sacking of Peter Band and Lloyd Morrison, says he began the week with no idea of what lay ahead. “Events have left me gobsmacked,” he commented. “I started off planning to play Bacup and now I’ve got games against Ramsbottom and Glossop.
“It’s all been a huge surprise but I’m pleased and feel really proud and privileged. Mossley are a great club with a rich history.”
The new manager, who has appointed Terry Hincks as his assistant, takes over at a time when the Lilywhites have lost the winning habit. They have taken a meagre six points from the last 45 and won only once in 2018. The slump has left a side that started off with play-off hopes lying fourth-bottom of the table.
Wild knows some fans will wonder if he is up to the task of reviving Mossley’s fortunes given his North West Counties League background. He acknowledges the size of the challenge he faces, but adds that he’s keen to meet it.
“I know I’ve got the capability to do the job, and I believe my style of football is suited to a higher level. I’m not the sort of man who can sit in the dug-out and watch my players lump long balls upfield. I believe in getting the ball down and playing,” he explained.
“The Evo-stik League has better quality players who will be able to hold the information I give them, so I’m really looking forward to it. When I was given the job I was told there was no pressure, but I can promise the supporters that I put massive pressure on myself. Whatever club I work for I want to improve and do well.”
Wild met his new players last night (Thursday). Instead of training there was a general get to know you session and he spent time individually with club stalwarts such as Mike Fish, Andy Keogh and team captain Tom Dean “thrashing a few things out”.
“I’m glad to say it was a rip-roaring success,” he said. “All the lads said they were behind us, they wanted to stay, and they’ve made themselves available. With that sort of attitude I’m sure we can progress and get towards mid-table where I think the club ought to be.
“Bandy and Lloyd assembled a capable squad and while the transfer deadline has passed there are players signed on with us who I could call on to freshen things up a bit and maybe provide one or two people with a kick up the backside.
“It’s a little tricky at the moment because I’ve only been manager a couple of days. But we’ve got enough experience to get us through the first 90 minutes, and after that we can really dig our teeth in.
“I realise the importance of the Glossop game as a local derby, and the need to have bragging rights, so we’ll be going all out for a positive result.”
Mossley should be at full strength at Ramsbottom. There was a doubt over goalkeeper Max Povey, who had a damaged hamstring, but he is expected to be fit.
HYDE UNITED’s promotion marathon moves on to sixth-placed Trafford but the Tigers ought to be in confident mood after taking four points from rivals Bamber Bridge in little more than a week.
It’s understood a couple of players came through fitness tests last night, but after his quartet of deadline signings manager Darren Kelly has cover in all areas and plenty of scope to field a strong side.
Ross Daley returned from his one-game ban in midweek. Striker Matt Beadle has also completed a suspension but it’s thought unlikely he will be on the teamsheet.
Ben Richardson returns after a one-match ban and goes straight into the GLOSSOP NORTH END squad for their home match with Colwyn Bay. Manager Mark Canning said: “We had a couple of knocks but the players recovered well so I have a full line-up to choose from.”
Struggling DROYLSDEN face Atherton Collieries at the Butchers Arms without Danny Ventre or Alex Frost.
In the premier division, it looks like ASHTON UNITED have lost Curtis Jones for what remains of the season. The midfielder, who was signed from Southport only a couple of weeks ago, has a back injury and needs specialist treatment that will not be available until June.
Matty Chadwick also misses the home clash with Mickleover Sports.
STALYBRIDGE CELTIC face an injury crisis and shortage of numbers as they gear up for their visit to Matlock Town.
Striker Liam Dickinson (knee), midfielder Greg Wilkinson (thigh) and defender Harrison Holgate (calf), who was the subject of a very heavy challenge from Grantham centre-back Tom Bachelor in midweek, are likely to miss tomorrow’s game and Monday’s home derby against Ashton United.
Striker Matty Wolfenden and skipper Danny Morton face late fitness tests before the trip to Causeway Lane.
Keeper George Sykes-Kenworthy, who has arrived on loan from Bradford City for the rest of the season, will replace Jack Walton who has been recalled by Barnsley.