With the return of FA Trophy and league action for Manchester’s non-league teams, MM takes a look at this weekend’s busy fixture list.
Blue Square Bet Premier
Forest Green Rovers v Stockport County
Stockport County visit high flying Forest Green, looking to add to their haul of 24 points so far this season.
The Hatters are currently in ninth, losing only once in eight away league games, but Jim Gannon’s side lost 3-0 to League Two’s Southend in the FA Cup when they were last on their travels.
County bounced back from that defeat to record a 3-1 home win against Barrow in midweek, with a Danny Hattersley double bringing his tally to seven for the season.
Forest Green lie in fifth place with 30 points and six off leaders Newport County ahead of this clash at The New Lawn.
Rovers have won four of eight home matches, and have fared slightly better on their travels, winning five of nine encounters.
They too suffered defeat in the FA Cup last weekend, losing 3-2 at home to Port Vale but recorded a 1-0 win at Dartford in midweek.
Top scorer Yan Klukowski got the only goal, notching his sixth of the season in the league.
Ebbsfleet v Hyde
Second bottom Ebbsfleet host third bottom Hyde with the Manchester club in a fine run of form after winning three league games on the spin.
Hyde recovered from their late FA Cup exit at Harrogate to overcome Grimsby 3-2 at Ewan Fields with Alex Brown netting twice on Tuesday.
The Tigers sit a point ahead of their hosts with a game in hand, and will be looking to add to their four league wins this season.
Ebbsfleet won 1-0 at Tamworth last time they were in league action – only their third win from 17 outings so far this campaign.
Liam Daish’s side lost to Carlisle in the FA Cup but top scorer Nathan Elder was again on the scoresheet.
The Fleet striker has eight league goals so far this season and are vital if his side are to climb out of the relegation zone.
FA Trophy Third Qualifying Round
Matlock Town v Stalybridge Celtic
Stalybridge return to action for the first time since the end of October when they visit Matlock Town of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League.
Celtic have not played since losing 1-0 at home to Boston and have lost three of their last six games.
Jack Laird has seven goals to date and will be looking to fire the BSB North side into the next round.
Matlock overcame Leek Town in the last round following a replay, and have two successive 3-1 victories to their name.
Mark Atkin’s side have 17 points from 14 games in the league and Massiah McDonald and Lewis McMahon both have two in two games.
Droylsden v Rushall Athletic
Droylsden are another Mancunian side who haven’t played since October, and they host Rushall Olympic of the Evo-Stik Premier.
The Bloods lost 2-1 to Workington last time out and sit 21st in BSB North with 11 points with the league’s second worst defence.
Rushall have 21 points from 14 games leaving them in 12th, but Athletic lost 4-0 to Witton Albion in midweek.
They are struggling for form with their only win in October coming in the last round of the FA Trophy where they defeated Chasetown.
Worcester City v Altrincham
Altrincham face a tough trip to Worcester City, in what will be Alty’s tenth successive away trip in national FA competitions.
Alty will have one eye on their FA Cup replay with Burton Albion next Thursday, after they drew 3-3 with the League Two side last weekend.
Calvin Zola rescued the game in stoppage time for Burton after Alty had led 2-0 and 3-2, and star-striker Damian Reeves also saw a penalty saved.
Worcester are eight places above their visitors in BSB North and moved up to fourth with a 5-0 win over Hinckley last weekend.
Danny Glover has five league goals for a side who have won seven of 14 games so far this season, suffering defeat on only three occasions.
On-loan Alfreton midfielder Jake Mould made his switch to Altrincham permanent this week, having made 14 appearances including two goals so far this season.
The best of the rest
There is an important clash in the Evo-Stik Premier Division as third-placed Ashton United entertain Chorley who currently lie fifth.
FC United of Manchester will look to win for the third game on the spin as they travel to Derbyshire to play lowly Ilkeston Town.
The game of the day in Evo-Stik League Division One North sees in-form Ramsbottom United host Mossley.
Rammy have won six from seven in the league while Steve Halford’s Lilywhites are top of the pile by six points, although Skelmersdale United are breathing down their necks.
Fourth-placed Trafford head to Merseyside to take on Prescot Cables who are languishing in the bottom half despite being unbeaten in their last three.
Curzon Ashton will have been many people’s tip for the title this season and will still hope to be in the promotion mix come April.
John Flanagan’s side visit the Ribble Valley tomorrow to play Paul Moore’s high-flying Clitheroe, with seven-goal striker Tony Evans set to face his former club.
Salford City travel to Yorkshire to face Harrogate Railway Athletic, while Radcliffe Borough host Bamber Bridge.