STOCKPORT County travel down to the West Midlands this Saturday, hoping to achieve a fourth successive victory in the National League North, when they visit Tamworth (KO 15:00 GMT).
In doing so, the Hatters would, one suspects, be rather happy to emulate their most recent result against the league’s other Staffordshire outfit, Hednesford Town, who were emphatically beaten 3-0 at Edgeley Park on Tuesday night.
County have also not conceded any goals in over a month, and manager, James Gannon, will be keen for the club’s recent upturn in form to continue against the Lambs.
Another three-point haul would ensure County’s best run of results within the same season since leaving the Football League – and equal a four-win sequence formed of two victories that brought the 2011/12 campaign to a close and another pair at the beginning of 2012/13.
Not to say that the weekend’s hosts are likely to be an easy touch, mind. They currently sit in seventh position, three places above the Hatters – and one away from the play-off zone, with a five-point gap to close.
Tamworth, like County, have won their last three matches – including an impressive win, by the odd goal in three, away to leaders Solihull Moors – and the Lambs have only lost twice this season on their home turf… called, a little confusingly, The Lamb!
The fixture has been staged on three previous occasions, and featured one draw as well as a win for each club. The Hatters emerged victorious from The Lamb last time – courtesy of a controversial last-minute penalty, scored by then-captain, Jamie Milligan – in the early stages of last season.
More recently, in the current campaign almost four months ago, the sides shared the spoils at Edgeley Park – with Elliott Durrell’s second-half equaliser cancelling out an opening strike from County’s former loanee from Tranmere, Jake Kirby.
The two teams will be without a midfielder apiece for their contest. County’s Lewis Montrose is suspended following his red card at Brackley Town two weeks ago, while Tamworth will have to do without the services of Shane Clarke for the rest of the season after he ruptured his Achilles in training.
The Hatters have, however, strengthened their squad on the eve of the match – signing another midfield player, Tom Field, after he was released by fellow National League North side Chorley. Field previously plied his trade at club-mate Glenn Rule’s former Welsh Premier side, Airbus UK.
The Lambs have also strengthened their squad today with the addition of four new signings. Winger Kaid Mohamed has joined on loan from National League side Eastleigh, whilst 20-year-old central defender Ashley Carter has also joined on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers. Jack Dyer, a midfielder, and Michael Wright, from the clubs academy, complete the signings.
Four separate Smiths could feature in proceedings: namely, County’s loanee from Fleetwood, Conor, and back-up goalkeeper, Dane; home midfielder, Lee; and linesman, Adam. And if they don’t all see action during the afternoon, there are enough of them to make up a tribute band later!
Tamworth: Belshaw (GK), Gill (GK), Burns, Ezewele, Moulton, Preston, Strong, Tomassen, Deeney, Durrell, Fox, Green (C), Pace, L Smith, Taylor, Dyer, Mettam, Newton, Morrell.
Stockport County: Ormson (GK), D Smith (GK), Morton, Roberts, Connolly, O’Hanlon (C), Smalley, Joyce, Rule, Field, Russell, Garvin, C Smith, Holsgrove, Menagh, Ledsham, Odejayi, Evans, Marsden, Brodie, Anoruo, West.
Referee: Anthony Tankard
Assistants: Adam Burgess and Adam Smith
By Gareth Evans
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