WITH the season approaching it’s no doubt dramatic final few weeks, Jordan Davies returns once again with another round-up of what to expect from our Greater Manchester sides across the country this weekend.
ALTRINCHAM are in massive trouble, Tuesday’s loss to Dover Athletic has left them with one win in 13 and marooned in the Vanarama National League relegation zone with just five games remaining. With time running out three points are a must for Neil Tolson’s men when Bromley come calling on Saturday in what is ‘Cancer Awareness Day’ at Moss Lane.
John Askey’s MACCLESFIELD TOWN are ending the season strongly. Three wins in a row over sides above them in the table has seen them rise to 10th place in the standings ahead of Saturday’s trip to in-form Barrow. Striker Reece Styche will be looking to add to his recent purple patch of four goals and two assists from those three matches.
National League North
Tuesday’s hard earned point against promotion chasing AFC Fylde has nudged STALYBRIDGE CELTIC towards National League North safety. Again, a side towards the top end of the table are the visitors to Bower Fold on Saturday. Nuneaton Town were the early pacesetters in the 2015-16 season but now look unlikely to make the play-offs with a four point gap between themselves and fifth placed Boston United. Both need the points for different reasons.
Jim Gannon’s honeymoon period as manager of STOCKPORT COUNTY is over. Three losses in a row without scoring has left many Hatters fans looking towards the season’s end. A trip to Aggborough to take on Worcester City awaits this weekend. Carl Heeley’s team were seven without a win before Tuesday’s 3-1 triumph over Bradford Park Avenue, and so it could go either way in the West Midlands.
CURZON ASHTON have had an excellent first season in the sixth tier and have surpassed all expectations thus far, currently sitting in 9th position. They make the trip to the most Easterly town in Britain on Saturday; the destination is Lowestoft for the Nash. The hosts need the points badly as they’re in the drop zone, if only on goal difference. The Trawlerboys have three wins in five at home, Curzon just one win in six away.
Corby Town cannot quite be mathematically relegated this weekend but a loss to FC UNITED OF MANCHESTER coupled with a Brackley Town win at Gloucester would put the Steelmen at the point of no return needing four wins from four and other results to go their way. Karl Marginson’s FC have little riding on their remaining fixtures, perhaps cracking the top 10 is their aim. They sit 10th at present.
Evo-Stik Premier Division
Three into two simply doesn’t go. Workington, Stourbridge and our ASHTON UNITED are all looking to secure one of the final two Northern Premier League play-off berths and are all fascinatingly on 77 points from 41 games. Any dropped points could prove vital when the Robins travel to Nantwich Town this weekend. The Dabbers had to play Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday this week so may be fatigued when Paul Phillips and Steve Halford’s men come to town.
Not for the first time in recent seasons HYDE UNITED are in trouble. Faced with the prospect of a third consecutive relegation they’ve turned to Darren Kelly to preserve their step seven status. Losses to Frickley and Blyth weren’t the ideal start to his tenure but the visit of 16th placed Ilkeston provides a decent chance to ease the nerves at Ewen Fields. Could be tense in Greater Manchester.
SALFORD CITY’s play-off position looks secure following victory over Ashton United on Tuesday. Building momentum looks like the main aim for the Ammies remaining league matches. A trip to 21st placed Stamford doesn’t look too challenging for a side that haven’t conceded in their last six outings but expect the Daniels to be fighting tooth and nail for every ball in Lincolnshire.
Evo-Stik First Division North
Two of our sides lock horns at the Belvior Stadium this weekend. 18th placed RADCLIFFE BOROUGH take on the team one position lower, DROYLSDEN. The sides met as recently as March 28 when they played out an entertaining 3-3 draw. More of the same would be most welcome in Bury on Saturday.
MOSSLEY’s promotion dreams look like they’ll have to wait another year as an 11 point gap at this stage of the season looks insurmountable. Nevertheless, the Lilywhites will want to end on a high when they travel west to play Burscough. Revenge may well be the order of the day as it was the Linnetts who left Seel Park with the points in the reverse fixture, winning by the odd goal in five back in November.
And finally, TRAFFORD in seventh are at a must-win stage of the season if they’re to make fifth place. They go to Witton Albion with a six point gap separating them and the final play-off place. Nothing less than a fifth win on the bounce will do against a side that are also in good form winning five of their last six encounters and averaging three goals a game from their last four fixtures.
By Jordan Davies