STOCKPORT County host North East side Bishop Auckland in The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round qualifying stage this weekend, with both sides vying for a place in the First Round proper.

The County Durham-based side play in the Northern League Division One, three tiers below County in the Vanarama National League North.

They come into the game in good form, with three wins in their last four games, and find themselves eighth in the league.

County themselves have hit good form recently, with four wins in the last five, including two successive victories over North West rivals Salford City in the space of a week in both league and cup.

The Hatters recorded a 2-1 victory over City on Saturday to move up to 10th in the league.

Their focus will now be on ensuring there isn’t a ‘cupset’ at Edgeley Park, with the visitors hoping to spring a surprise on the firm favourites.

Both sides will be keen to progress, with £12,500 of prize money at stake, alongside the chance to prove themselves against clubs from League One or Two.

County will have to watch out for Bishop Auckland’s Andrew Johnson, with the striker in impressive form.

He’s scored nine in his 10 appearances this season, including two in their previous game to help them to a 3-1 win over Guisborough Town.

Meanwhile Danny Lloyd leads the scoring chart for The Hatters, with six goals this season.

Stockport boss Jim Gannon will be hoping that summer signing Josh Amis will have recovered from a knee injury which kept him out of the league game against Salford.

Max Cartwright will also be pushing for a starting role, after coming off the bench to score the winner in what was his first appearance for County.

Despite the gulf in league positions between the two sides, Saturday’s game promises to be interesting, with success meaning so much to both clubs both on and off the pitch.

By Russell Edge

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