Non-league matters: Mind games from Curzon Ashton ahead of meeting with second-placed Warrington Town

By Arandeep Singh Dhillon and Tom Paterson

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is famed for his mind games but Curzon Ashton manager John Flanagan has taken things to a new level ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Warrington Town.

Flanagan says their opponents, rather than his own side, must win to stay in contention of winning the league.

Table-toppers Curzon face second-placed Town in the Evo-Stik First Division North for the first time since floodlight failure caused the match to be abandoned when Warrington were 2-0 up in November.

Flanagan is also confident his side can deal with the direct play of Shaun Reid’s side at the Tameside Stadium after struggling in the last encounter.

“Tomorrow is important, but we can’t lose sight of only playing for three points but the cliché six-pointer comes to mind,” he said.

“Hand on my heart I think they have to win the game, if we win tomorrow and our games in hand we could go 11 clear – so if they have done their maths they will realise the importance.

“The pressure is on them. I think it’s just all on the day who wants it most and who shows good level of composure.”

The Nash welcome back a number of key players including Connor Hampson, Jordan Wright and fit-again Simon Lakeland.

Flanagan said: “We are now in a much stronger position from a team point of view and on the bench, there are still a few lads out suspended but we have got more than ample cover.”

Salford City host Mossley whilst in the Premier Division Ashton United look to return to winning ways as they welcome Blyth Spartans to Hurst Cross.

FC United travel to Whitby Town and Trafford at home to Frickley Athletic.

Bottom clubs Stafford Rangers and Droylsden face off Dave Pace’s players look to replicate Hyde’s first win of the season in midweek.

Hyde will be looking for another scalp in the Skrill Premier as they look to avenge their humbling 8-0 defeat to Forest Green Rovers on the opening day of the season.

After claiming their first win in the league against Welling United on Tuesday night Scott McNiven’s men will be full of confidence as they look to improve on their current tally of seven points from 27 games.

McNiven has endured a turbulent season seeing his team suffer every single week but with four points from two games, things are looking promising at Ewen Fields.

“It’s a great great feeling winning a football game and that’s what we’ve got to remember. We need to win a lot of games but anything is possible and it’s a big test for the squad who have been tested to the limit,” he said.

“We’ve got a very young team and if we can develop them then who knows what they can do. We’ve got match winning players in the squad so its up to them to step up to the plate and keep going.”

While down in the Skrill North, Stockport County will be looking for an immediate response after their 3-1 away defeat to Hednesford Town.

After a poor run of form leading up to Christmas, County turned it around and claimed ten points from four games but the trip to second place Hednesford proved too much to handle.

The Hatters travel to Guiseley on Saturday and Alan Lord said their approach to the game would be the same as any other as he felt they should have got something out of Tuesday night’s fixture.

“We’re not going to Guiseley with any different mentality because we got beat. I said to the boys that I couldn’t fault their application. They didn’t lie down and I’ve got to take the positive out of that,” he said.

“I think we could have got something out of the game but I can’t really criticise the players, I can’t kick any of them up the backside as we just didn’t have enough on the night.”

Image courtesy of DOS82 via Flickr, with thanks.

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