MM looks at the raft of non-league fixtures around Greater Manchester this weekend:
BLUE SQUARE BET PREMIER DIVISION
Stockport County v Woking FC
Stockport manager Jim Gannon takes his County side into a home game with newly-promoted Woking looking to arrest a winless run which dates back six games. He will no doubt be keen to build on the goalless draw at high-flying Newport County last week and improve on their current league position. Teenage midfield Danny Whitehead has scored four times already this season and his goals could well prove the catalyst if Stockport are to rise up the table and avoid a repeat of the tricky season they endured last campaign.
Woking are presently a place below the Hatters but enjoyed a 6-1 win over Nuneaton Borough last Saturday after a run of four defeats and will now turn their attentions towards improving their away form. Garry Hill’s side have been slightly unfortunate not to pick up points on the road this season against some of the fancied sides in the league.
Ones to watch:
Jim Gannon may give a full debut to Alex Meaney after he impressed as a substitute last week at Newport.
Woking’s Grenada International Bradley Bubb scored 4 in his last game bringing his tally to 6 so far this season.
Lincoln City v Hyde
An intriguing encounter awaits at Sincil Bank as Hyde make the journey to Lincoln City in an early season ‘six-pointer’. Hyde will be buoyed by their first win of the season last week against Hereford United having taken time to adapt to life in the Blue Square Bet Premier. Whilst Lincoln have only lost one of their last four, the Imps have not won since the opening day of the campaign. Hyde will be looking for all three points to overtake their opponents but should be wary that Lincoln have found the net in every game this season.
Ones to watch:
Former Everton forward Phil Jevons bagged a hat-trick last week and will be looking to add to his tally.
Lincoln midfielder Nicky Nicolau has 2 goals and an assist in his last three games.
BLUE SQUARE BET NORTH DIVISION
Altrincham v Bradford PA
Altrincham will be keen to get back to winning ways when they welcome Bradford Park Avenue to Moss Lane. Following on from last weekend’s 2-2 draw at Oxford City, manager Lee Sinnott will hope to have a full squad to choose from after Nicky Clee, Carl Rodgers, Matt Doughty, Shaun Densmore and Duncan Watmore returned to training on Thursday evening. Altrincham have accrued seven points from the last nine available and will be looking to extend that unbeaten run in front of their own supporters.
Bradford have made a steady start to life in Blue Square Bet North and currently occupy a mid-table place after being promoted via the Evo-Stik play-offs at the expense of FC United last season.
Ones to watch:
Alty forward Damian Reeves has continued his form from last season where he netted 44 goals, claiming 11 of Altrincham’s 17 league goals so far this term.
Bradford Park Avenue’s Danny Holland and Richard Marshall have 4 and 3 goals to their names respectively.
Stalybridge Celtic v Histon
After the midweek high of beating a Manchester United XI which included Darren Fletcher and Federico Macheda, Stalybridge Celtic return to league action against Histon aiming to get back to winning ways after last week’s late defeat at Gloucester City. Prior to this defeat, Stalybridge had been unbeaten in five, picking up eleven points in the process. Jack Rea has departed Bower Fold this week to join high-flying Guiseley AFC.
Histon have the worst goal difference in the division with the goals against column taking a battering the last time they visited the Manchester area where they shipped five without reply at Altrincham. Dennis Greene’s visitors currently sit 4 points and 11 places below Celtic and will be vying for revenge after Stalybridge claimed home and away victories over the Stutes last season, both without the concession of a goal.
One to watch:
Jack Laird has 3 goals in his last 3 games for the Greater Manchester based club
Histon have only managed 5 goals so far this season, fewer than every team in the division apart from bottom placed Hinckley.
Worcester City v Droylsden
A difficult task awaits Droylsden as they make the trip to Worcester City looking for only their second win of the campaign. In contrast, Worcester lost for the first time this season in last week’s encounter at Gainsborough but have a perfect record on their own ground so far.
Mike Symons and Danny Glover provide the goal threat for Worcester whilst the Bloods must breach a defence which has conceded just 6 goals so far this season. The signing of young centre-back Alex Coleman from Burnley may go some way to tightening up the league’s joint-worst defence should he feature.
Ones to Watch:
Bloods goalkeeper Andy Robertson on his return to the club he left several seasons ago, with the 6”4 stopper expected to start following the release of Paul Philips.
City’s Mike Symons has four goals to his name so far this campaign.
FA Carlsberg Trophy
Free-scoring Trafford entertain the world’s oldest football club as the FA Carlsberg Trophy gets underway this weekend with a host of Preliminary Round ties. Sheffield FC visit Shawe View no doubt aware that Michael Oates has netted half of Trafford’s haul of 24 goals so far this campaign. Garry Vaughan’s men have also proved an obstinate outfit, conceding just the one goal to date.
Having won, lost and drawn against Yorkshire counterparts recently, Benny Phillips’ Radcliffe Borough again face white rose opposition as they cross the county divide this weekend to take on Farsley FC.
Curzon Ashton will be hoping Saturday’s trip to fellow Evo-Stik League Division One (North) side Goole AFC will be a first step on another dazzling cup run, with the Blues having a noteworthy history in various FA competitions over the years.
Salford City travel to West Lancashire full of confidence in light of their recent form but Skelmersdale United promise to provide the toughest test to date with Tommy Lawson’s charges boasting a flawless record across all competitions this season.
Evo-Stik Premier Division
Unbeaten Ashton United host Grantham Town who have recorded some solid away victories so far this campaign. Craig Robinson will serve the first of a three-match suspension after his red card in the victory against Nantwich Town at the end of August whilst manager Danny Johnson is hopeful several of his players can recover from injuries in time to play a part.
FC United of Manchester have an identical record to Ashton United and host Nantwich Town, who themselves have made a decent start to the campaign. It is almost a year to the day since the Dabbers recorded an impressive 3-1 victory at Gigg Lane and Karl Marginson’s side will be guarding against suffering a similar fate with top spot available this weekend.
Evo-Stik League Division One (North)
Mossley will be eager to maintain their good start to the season as they travel to lowly Prescot Cables. The Lilywhites bounced back from their first defeat of the season against Clitheroe to beat Goole AFC at Seel Park last Saturday.