THIS Saturday Salford City travel north to the CNG Stadium where they take on Harrogate Town in the Third Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy. Quays News’ Matt Bullin runs his eye over the game…
If the Ammies take the win it will be their fourth win on the bounce in all competitions having most
recently beaten Worcester City in the Vanarama National League North.
Last Saturday Salford cruised to a 3-0 win over Worcester thanks to goals from Nick Haughton, Mike
Phenix and Scott Burton in what their manager called the “complete performance”.
After that win Salford sit seventh in the league and are unbeaten in five games in all competitions.
In comparison, Harrogate are placed 11th and have lost their last two matches to Brackley Town and Tamworth respectively.
Last time the sides met, just a few weeks ago, the game ended in a goalless draw at Moor Lane, as Harrogate ended a five game losing streak.
Both sides are chasing a place in the First Round proper of the FA Trophy which they will earn with a victory on Saturday.
They each exited the FA Trophy in the First Qualifying Round last season, with Salford losing to Nantwich Town, whilst Harrogate were beaten 1-0 by Curzon Ashton.
The Ammies should go into this encounter high on confidence having seemingly found their early season form, form which saw them go unbeaten in their first nine league games.
This return to form could be put down to Phenix rediscovering his mojo- he has scored two in his last two appearances, and has nine goals for the season, making him the Ammies top scorer.
Though Fleetwood Town loanee Haughton has also put in some impressive performances and will be aiming to retain his starting spot after scoring his first goal for the club in last week’s rout.
Ammies captain Simon Grand has looked more solid the arrival of Jack Deaman to partner him at centre back.
Deaman signed on loan from Gloucester City and Salford are yet to concede with him in the side.
Deaman’s arrival has also meant Michael Nottingham could shift to his preferred full back role.
The marauding full back has three goals and eight assists to his name this season.
For Harrogate, a cup tie could provide welcome respite for Simon Weaver’s men who have struggled to find their best form in the last few weeks.
If they are to get anything from Saturday’s game the performance of their forward Jon Paul Pitman will be key.
The American-born powerful striker will be looking to cause Salford’s defence problems with his physicality.
The 30-year-old former Wycombe and Crawley man signed for Harrogate from Grimsby in the summer and is Town’s top scorer his season with eight league goals to his name.
Warren Burrell and Andi Thanoj have also been in good form this season scoring two goals apiece in the league, and they will be looking to control the midfield for their side.
But they will face stiff opposition from Salford’s midfield pairing of Burton and Sam Walker who both put in sterling performances last week versus Worcester.
Ammies joint managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley will be hoping their side can keep this impressive run going in what will be their 101st game in charge of the side.
By Matt Bullin