STOCKPORT County and FC United of Manchester will both be hoping to end their winless streaks when the two meet at Edgeley Park in the Vanarama National League North on Saturday (KO 15:00 GMT).
County last chalked up all three points on October 24, six games ago, against Bradford Park Avenue. Whilst FC United have gone seven games without claiming maximum points – a run that stretches back to October 27 when Karl Marginson’s side defeated Glossop North End 6-5 on penalties in the Manchester Premier Cup.
However the Red Rebels haven’t won in the league since September 12 – a 1-0 victory over Corby Town at Broadhurst Park. Seven defeats and a draw have followed for the Moston-based outfit in their debut season in the sixth tier. Failure to secure three points against Neil Young’s side on Saturday would be FC’s longest run without tasting victory in their 10 year existence.
Young’s team have only picked up two points from the last 15 available in the league and last weekend’s FA Trophy exit to seventh tier Nantwich Town – a competition FC United also departed – was the Hatters third successive home defeat.
Two defeats against second placed Solihull Moors and failure to secure maximum points from winning positions against Tamworth and Lowestoft Town has seen the Hatters promotion challenge severely dented.
As a result former Chester boss Young has been forced to reshuffle his pack. Jonny Margetts and Andreas Arestidou – who both made their debuts in the FA Trophy defeat last weekend – and Kayden Jackson have all joined on loan and will be hoping to stop County’s alarming slide down the table. However Jackson’s involvement in the game is in some doubt with the Hatters still waiting to receive international clearance for the Wrexham striker.
They will also be boosted by the return of former York midfielder Lewis Montrose who has served his three game suspension for his red card in the home draw against Tamworth. Danny Hurst will be unavailable for the rest of the season as he waits to undergo surgery on the anterior cruciate ligament injury he sustained in the away draw at Lowestoft.
The Hatters will also be without young defender Ryan Ellison, who has joined Witton Albion on a month-long loan deal.
FC United, who have sold 1040 tickets for the all-ticket game, will be without Liam Brownhill after the right-back was stretched over in last Friday’s FA Trophy defeat against AFC Telford. Defender Nia Bayunu left the club last weekend.
However subject to league clearance, Marginson will have two new signings available. The versatile Scott Kay and ex-Chorley centre back Tom Smyth have joined the Rebels this week.
The first official meeting of the sides, separated by a mere 13 miles, coincided with the first ever competitive game at Broadhurst Park in August. County came from behind to win 2-1 thanks to goals from Kayode Odejayi and Everton loanee Calum Dyson.
With FC United currently lingering in the relegation zone and County sitting six points behind the play-off pack, both will be looking to get their seasons back on track.
Stockport County: Arestidou, Ormson, Morton, Tonge, O’Hanlon, Connolly, Killock, Roberts, Montrose, Robinson, Rule, Garvin, Ledsham, Evans, Baggie, Cham, Colley, Odejayi, Jackson, Margetts.
FC United of Manchester: Carnell, Culkin, King, Stott, Ashworth, Smyth, Lynch, Kay, Thurston, Fallon, Cheetham, Brown, Cooke, Murray, Sheridan, Winter, Thomson, Wolfenden, Greaves, Daniels, Patterson, Lindfield, Madeley.
Referee: Thomas Bramall (South Yorkshire)
By: Callum Matthews
Don’t forget to join us for all the latest action, match reports and reaction in our Greater Manchester non-league blog Football LIVE from 2pm on Saturday.