STOCKPORT County hit the road this Easter weekend for a second consecutive Saturday, when they head east to visit North Ferriby United (KO 15:00 GMT).
The Hatters travel to Grange Lane – or the Eon Visual Media Stadium, if you will (although a good many of you won’t…) – on a continued run of rich form that now sees them unbeaten in seven National League North matches and only five points away from the play-off positions.
Second-placed North Ferriby currently occupy the highest of those positions, after winning all three of their games in March to date – and, with County’s Easter Monday opponents Fylde holding the next slot down in third, the Hatters will be in for two severe tests in quick succession over the holiday period.
But confidence in the Edgeley Park camp will surely be sky-high – not least following County’s trip last weekend to Hednesford, where added-time strikes by Obi Anoruo and Kay Odejayi saw Jim Gannon’s team sensationally snatch victory from the jaws of defeat with a late, late 2-1 win.
The fixture on the Humber estuary has been staged twice previously. And while there is a well-worn joke that gets shared among Hatters along the lines of being ‘glad not to have to play the whole of Ferriby’, County’s away-record against the Villagers is actually quite good!
The two sides fought out a no-score draw at Grange Lane two seasons ago – while, just before Christmas 2014, goodwill shone all around as the spoils were shared following a first-half goal apiece.
Their most recent meeting, at Edgeley Park just ten days into the current campaign, produced another one-all draw. But it will be remembered rather less fondly!
On that occasion, the Villagers equalised through substitute Adam Bolder to cancel out Karl Ledsham’s opener – albeit well after the allotted time added-on had been played, and more than 3,000 paying customers were set to turn into pumpkins!
The Hatters will welcome back Sean O’Hanlon after their captain was prevented by illness from travelling with the squad to Hednesford.
But fellow defender Gareth Roberts continues to suffer the whiplash-like effects of an injury suffered against Gloucester a week ago on Saturday, and may not be ready to return to action until next week. Jamie Menagh is not likely to resume in midfield before the season’s end, due to cracked ribs.
On the eve of the match, County have brought in a quartet of players until the season’s end – one of whom is Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson, who returns for a second spell on loan.
The three others are left-sided player Sam Grimshaw, from Southport, and two more loanees: Bury defender Marcus Poscha, and Burnley’s Australian midfielder Brandon Wilson. All four of the arrivals will be eligible to play for the Hatters with immediate effect.
North Ferriby United: Nicklin (GK), Nicholson (GK), Wilde, Gray, Middleton, Topliss, Palmer, Hone, Fry, King (c), Bolder, Hotte, Brooksby, Clarke, Emerton, Denton, Bateson, Kendall.
Stockport County: Henderson (GK), Ormson (GK), Smith (GK), Morton, Roberts, Connolly, O’Hanlon (c), Smalley, Ellison, Joyce, Field, Garvin, Holsgrove, Odejayi, Marsden, Brodie, Anoruo, West, Grimshaw, Poscha, Wilson.
Referee: Paul Brown
Assistants: Samuel Barrott and Michael Brownsett
By Gareth Evans
You can follow live updates on Saturday from Gareth via County’s official Twitter account, @SCFCmedia.