VICTORY over Spennymoor Town at the Tameside Stadium tomorrow (Saturday) will effectively secure CURZON ASHTON’s National League North survival.
A win would take the Nash to 49 points — the maximum Gainsborough can reach — with two games left to play and with a far superior goal difference. Curzon are minus-nine while Trinity are minus-28.
Whatever happens, manager John Flanagan has several players missing. Chief among them is striker Niall Cummins who has picked up a serious knee ligament injury and will miss the last three games.
Midfielder Sam Walker has returned to Stockport on the completion of his loan, and Matt Regan has damaged an ankle and is doubtful. Chris Rowney’s knee problem is showing signs of improvement but he is unlikely to play again this term.
On the positive side, Ben McKenna’s groin/hip injury has settled down and he is available to play.
In the Evo-stik NPL premier division, ASHTON UNITED will quite literally be fielding a team of walking wounded against Nantwich in their last home game of the season.
Matty Chadwick (knee), Deane Smalley (knee) and Josh Granite (broken hand) will all be strapped up so that they can feature at some point. There are also hopes that Mark Lees (broken metatarsal) will be able to play a part at Workington next week to prepare him for the play-offs. John Pritchard has a torn thigh.
However, the biggest blow is possibly the loss of goalkeeper Dave Carnell who is out for what’s left of the season with a torn hamstring.
Robins boss Jody Banim said: “Josh Ollerenshaw will come in. We’re lucky to have him because he’s a very good keeper and has my full confidence. But losing Dave is a blow because I consider him to be the best in the league.
“It’s a difficult situation but we’ve just got to get on with it. We’ll definitely be the walking wounded but we’ll see if we can manage some of the injuries till the end of the season. If we can beat Nantwich and Matlock, we might have scope to rest some players ahead of the play-offs.”
STALYBRIDGE CELTIC play their seventh game in 12 days when they welcome Coalville Town to Bower Fold.
Despite it being the penultimate Saturday of the season, Steve Burr’s men still have five games left after their fixture list was blown apart by recent bad weather.
Celtic were only able to muster 12 players for Thursday’s 2-0 defeat at Matlock Town but should have a full complement tomorrow with Liam Dickinson, Greg Wilkinson and Josh Ramsden all available.
Defender Alex Honeyball is a doubt after picking up a knock at Causeway Lane and Connor Hughes serves the first part of a two-game suspension after being sent off in last week’s 4-1 reverse at Stourbridge.
In the first division north, HYDE UNITED could wrap up promotion by winning at Mossley.
Because of restructuring and the creation of a new central league, the best-performing third-placed club from the Northern Premier League, Southern League and Isthmian League will also go up.
At the moment the Tigers are in pole position. They have two rivals, both from the Southern League’s first division east. Cambridge City can reach a maximum of 87 points, and Hartley Wintney could make 88. By winning at Seel Park, Hyde would get to 89 with a game left to play.
Whatever the figures might say tomorrow or next week, everything is dependent on the FA who will make an announcement when the season has ended.
As the Tigers played at Radcliffe last night (Thursday) manager Darren Kelly was still assessing his squad this morning and was only able to confirm that Luke Porritt will definitely be out. He was injured by a bad foul at Atherton Collieries on Monday.
Winger Tom Pratt, who broke a toe at the end of February, made his return at Stainton Park when he came on as a sub for the last 15 minutes.
MOSSLEY manager Dave Wild has reported a clean bill of health.
Adam Jones misses GLOSSOP NORTH END’s trip to Kendal with a calf injury. Ryan White is unavailable because of a Bolton Wanderers under-23 game and Lewis Lacey is doubtful with a knock he picked up at South Shields on Tuesday.
DROYLSDEN, who recorded their first victory of 2018 when they beat Skelmersdale on Monday, will again be without the suspended Luke Daley. Richie Brannigan faces a fitness test.