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Match Preview - Stalybridge Celtic FC vs Newcastle Town FC

It feels like we’ve been here before


After the frustration and infuriation of a two and a half hour round trip for nothing last weekend, our hosts Stalybridge were quick to reschedule our postponed league fixture as we both initially had a free week this weekend.

It’s just as well, as squeezing in extra midweek fixtures at this late stage of the season is every fixture secretary’s nightmare.

It’s been a strange old season in many ways. Unless their form falls off a cliff, the title and automatic promotion belong to Leek, but the order of the play-offs is anyone’s guess. Runcorn and Prescot Cables occupy second and third place in the table but have hardly been pulling up trees in recent weeks, while the rest of the promotion picture is as clear as mud.

It feels like an opportunity missed for us this season in many ways but the improvements we’ve made this year have been reflected by a rise up the table and a feel good factor returning to the place. I’ll have to go to Brazil more often!

As mentioned in last week’s preview, Stalybridge are one of the sides whose form has been erratic. They were looking odds on to be in the play offs in January after demolishing the resurgent Bootle 4-0 but have properly been knackering it up since and haven’t won in six.

The extra time that there’s been between our last fixture at Vauxhall Motors against City of Liverpool and Saturday’s rescheduled trip to East Manchester has at least been good news for the recovering players.

Most notably, Josh Jordan is back in the squad for Saturday after nearly a month out with an achilles injury, while captain Tommy, who was due to play anyway last Saturday, has had an extra week to ensure that his hamstring is right.

Bakes, as is always his way, was confident while being respectful of our Manchester opponents when I asked him about the game earlier today: “We’ll certainly be ready for the game on Saturday after 12 days without a game. Although their results haven’t been as they would have hoped recently, the league table tells you that they’re a decent side and of course they’re a famous name in non-league football.

“It was just one of those things with the postponement last week and that can happen at our level. There’s no blame to attach on that front. Just as we were last week, we’ll go there with the full intention of getting an important win.”

The play-offs are still an outside bet for us, so we’ll travel to Stalybridge (again!) in a positive frame of mind and hoping to keep our season going.

Come on Castle!



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