NOW in the middle of March, the season is beginning to reach the latter stages as clubs desperately try to avoid the drop or, alternatively, secure a lucrative promotion spot. Quays News sport reporter Jordan Davies brings us another Football Live round-up ahead of this weekend’s action across Greater Manchester…

National League

After a run of one win in 13 league games, which has seen the Robins slide into the National League relegation zone, ALTRINCHAM have dispensed with manager Lee Sinnott. Neil Tolson’s reign in caretaker charge starts this Saturday at Paul Cox’s Barrow AFC who are upwardly mobile after going three without defeat.

John Askey’s MACCLESFIELD TOWN are without a league win since the second of January and have dropped to 13th place having been on the fringes of the play-off places. They’ll look to return to winning ways against a Lincoln City side who beat them 5-3 in the reverse fixture in August. Interestingly this game game should see the McCombe brothers (John and Jamie) come up against each other at the Moss Rose.

National League North

It’s been a funny old week at STOCKPORT COUNTY. On Tuesday night Jim Gannon’s current side beat his former charges at Northwich Victoria 3-0 to reach the Cheshire Senior Cup final but on Thursday midfielder Karl Ledsham announced he will retire from the game following Saturday’s home match with Gloucester City. The popular Scouser has been in great form of late but has been unable to totally shake off a groin injury despite having two operations. He hopes to bow out with a win at an emotional Edgeley Park.

After an impressive 2-0 triumph at Gainsborough Trinity in the week, CURZON ASHTON will try and take that confidence into this weekend’s clash with 14th placed Worcester City. The two sides played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at Aggborough in September so more of the same would be welcome at the Tameside on Saturday.

FC UNITED OF MANCHESTER will be looking to the experience of new signing Dale Tonge to help them out against promotion-chasing AFC Fylde at Broadhurst Park on Saturday. Karl Marginson was pleased to pick up a player of Tonge’s calibre as the Rebels head into the final furlongs of the season just three points above the relegation trap-door.

Grange Lane has already played host to STALYBRIDGE CELTIC this season. The Greater Manchester side travelled to the North-east on a Wednesday night in October and after a 0-0 draw were victorious on penalties to set up a plumb FA Cup tie at Doncaster Rovers. Fourth-placed North Ferriby United will be looking to take revenge when Liam Watson’s side come calling once more on Saturday afternoon.

Evo-Stik Premier Division

ASHTON UNITED have bolstered their chances of promotion to the sixth tier with the loan signing of FC United’s Craig Lindfield this week. The former Macclesfield attacker was a key part in the Rebels title winning side of last year and should make his debut against Barwell on Saturday. The Leicestershire side are on a 10 game winning streak, however, so it could go either way at Hurst Cross.

HYDE UNITED have only won two of their last 18 Northern Premier League fixtures. Having said that they were the last two games played at Ewan Fields when Whitby Town and Buxton were both sent packing after 2-1 losses to the Tigers. Sutton Coldfield Town provide this weekend’s opposition with Gary Lowe’s side looking for three home successes on the bounce.

There was an eight-goal thriller on Tuesday night at Moor Lane where SALFORD CITY picked up a much-needed 5-3 victory against promotion-rivals Workington. It’s still possible that the Ammies could win the title but they’d need to be pretty much imperious throughout March and April and that includes Saturday’s trip to Skelmersdale United.

Evo-Stik First Division North

The only one of our tier eight sides to have home advantage this weekend are DROYSLDEN. The Bloods are in horrific form, their 9-0 loss at the hands of Warrington Town on Tuesday night took their losing streak to seven in which they’ve conceded an astonishing 41 goals; that’s 5.8 a game. Brighouse Town will fancy their chances at the Butchers’ Arms on Saturday.

Droylsden make RADCLIFFE BOROUGH’s run of one win in five games look enviable. Seven points clear of the relegation zone they should be set to survive at this level, especially given how poor New Mills and Harrogate Railway Athletic have been this campaign. Nevertheless, they’d still welcome the points from a trip to seventh-placed Clitheroe this weekend.

Five wins out of their last six make Glossop North End a tough assignment at the moment. That’s the task facing a TRAFFORD side who are actually just three points away from the play-off spots and haven’t tasted defeat in seven. Something’s got to give at Surrey Street.

And finally, if MOSSLEY are to gatecrash the end of season shoot-out that is the Evo-Stik First Division North play-offs it’s games like Ossett Albion away which they’re going to have to win. The Unicorns lie in sixth spot in the table but their poor recent form will encourage the Lilywhites. Albion have lost four of their last five. The reverse-fixture ended 0-0 and both managers will be hoping for better this weekend.

By Jordan Davies

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