STOCKPORT County will this Saturday host a second match at Edgeley Park within the week, when they receive Lowestoft Town (KO 15:00 BST).
In doing so, County will look to bounce back following a disappointing Easter weekend which – courtesy of defeats against high-flying North Ferriby United and AFC Fylde – effectively ended any lingering aspirations of a finish in the play-off positions.
And the Hatters’ four-goal mauling by Fylde on Monday was their heaviest at home in over five years – which will surely harden their resolve to get back immediately to winning ways in SK3.
County’s latest guests, from far, faraway on the Easternmost point of the British Isles, do not tend to travel well. (Perhaps unsurprisingly, given that the closest they have this term to local rivals – Boston – are 106 miles away!)
And they have the worst away record in the Vanarama National League North, as well as poor recent form that has dealt the Suffolk club four losses in their last five matches.
History appears to be on the side of County, too – following Lowestoft’s one previous visit to EP, in the early stages of last season, which ended in a comfortable 3-0 win for the Hatters.
But the Trawlerboys, currently lying 20th, two points away from safety – albeit with two games in hand over Brackley Town who are immediately above them – have a fighting chance of avoiding relegation, and are unlikely to make life easy for their hosts.
They may also be feeling relatively fresh, after ‘Storm Katie’ put paid to their home match against North Ferriby five days ago.
The Hatters and Lowestoft have recently shared an achievement in terms of having reached the finals of their relevant County tournaments. While County await confirmation of arrangements to play Tranmere Rovers in this year’s Cheshire Senior Cup, the Trawlerboys will face Leiston in the Suffolk version on May 4.
Both sides approach Saturday’s fixture without a key player apiece. County’s Lewis Montrose will again be absent from midfield because of a knee problem, while leading scorer for the visitors, Jake Reed, is ruled out for the rest of the season with an ankle injury.
County boss Jim Gannon will possibly have better news about two defenders, Danny Morton and Chris Smalley, who suffered, respectively, concussion at North Ferriby and a knock to the calf at Hednesford – but who may now both be fit to return to action.
And Lowestoft will be hoping that Shaun Bammant, who broke County’s hearts with a last-minute equaliser in the reverse-fixture at Crown Meadow last November, has shaken off an achilles problem in time to play.
Live updates of the match will be available from our correspondent through County’s official Twitter-feed, @ScfcMedia.
Stockport County: D Henderson (GK), Ormson (GK), D Smith (GK), Morton, Poscha, Todd, Roberts, Connolly, O’Hanlon (C), Smalley, Ellison, Joyce, Field, Garvin, Holsgrove, Grimshaw, Menagh, Wilson, Odejayi, John Marsden, Brodie, Anoruo, West.
Lowestoft Town: Killip (GK), Putnins (GK), Swatman (GK), Barker, Kyprianou, Spillane, Joe Marsden, A Smith, Deeks, Mason, Rossi Jarvis (C), Fisk, Eagle, C Henderson, Crow, Ryan Jarvis, Bammant, Nyadzo.
Referee: Peter Wright
Assistants: Mark Brown / Nathaneal Cox
By Gareth Evans