Preview: Stalybridge Celtic v Harriers
April 10, 2017

Preview: Stalybridge Celtic v Harriers

Harriers travel to face relegation-threatened Stalybridge tomorrow looking to close the gap to league leaders Fylde to just three points.

With Stalybridge surprising the wobbling Coasters at the weekend while Harriers were winning at Gloucester the title race remains alive.  A Harriers win in their game in hand  at Bower Fold would close the gap to three points with Fylde next facing promotion chasing Halifax on Good Friday.

There should be no new injury concerns for John Eustace following on from the win at Gloucester but he may choose to make use of the squad with another game coming up on Friday afternoon.  Darryl Knights was influential at Whaddon Road, setting up the winning goal for Daniel Nti, and will hope to continue in the place of Elton Ngwatala whose shoulder injury remains a concern.

Steve Burr's Celtic side have gone on a three-game unbeaten run as they chase what looks to be a lost cause in trying to avoid relegation; second from the bottom they are still eight points from safety and only have six games left to play most of which are against teams chasing promotion.  Former Harriers boss Burr should include a couple of familiar faces in his side in the shape of striker Andy Bishop and Danny Pilkington who scored the winner against Fylde on Saturday.

Earlier in the season when the sides met at Aggborough goals from Mani Dieseruvwe and Tyrone Williams gave Harriers a 2-1 win.  Overall Harriers have a good record against Celtic with nine wins to two from 15 games although they have only won twice at Bower Fold, the last time being in December 1994.

I expect Harriers to line-up as follows (4-3-3): Hornby; Hodgkiss, Francis-Angol, Lowe, Tunnicliffe; Croasdale, McQuilkin, Knights; Nti, Ironside, Austin.
Subs (from): A. Brown, Ezewele, A. Palmer, Sonupe, Taylor, Waite, Webb, Williams.
Missing (injured): Gnahoua, Ngwatala, Truslove.
Missing (suspended): Carter.
Missing (on-loan): J. Brown, Clarke, Dieseruvwe, Digie, Forsyth, Hancocks, T. Palmer, Sweeney, Thomas.

The referee at Bower Fold will be Paul Marsden from Lancashire.  This will be his second time officiating a Harriers game having done the 2-0 win at Harrogate earlier this season.

The weather forecast suggests that at kick-off time it will be 11°C and cloudy with no chance of rain.


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