Stockport County face Gloucester City this Saturday in the final league game of the season, and after 41 games of the season already taken place, The Hatters need one final push for what is certainly a make or break match for Jim Gannon and his players. A win from County and a loss for either Chorley or Salford would guarantee a place for us in the play-offs for the first time since 2008!
Our opponents Gloucester City have also had their fair share of success this season, and are currently 10th, the highest position the club has seen for some years, meaning that this will be no easy game. Just last week, The Tigers took a point from fellow play-off chasers, Chorley, in an entertaining 2-2 draw.
The reverse fixture in early December ended 1-0 to the Hatters but with the Tigers currently playing well and getting results, it doesn’t leave much room for error if County are to keep their season going beyond Saturday.
Earlier this week, I spoke to County winger Danny Lloyd, as he urged fans to get down to Edgeley Park on Saturday, “If any fan can think of a good reason not to come down on Saturday, then please message me”, he challenged.
“This is an opportunity for every single person who loves Stockport County Football Club to get behind the lads – Win lose or draw, and top off what has been the best season this club’s had for a long time.”
I also caught up with County Captain Mark Ross, who underlined the players’ commitment to the cause and stressed the importance of this weekend to everyone at the club.
“I just want everyone coming down on Saturday to know that the lads understand how much of a big deal it is to you and the club”, he told me earlier this week.
“We want you and the club to keep this season going in the best possible fashion by winning and winning well. That can only be helped by the amazing support we have had from the stands since the first game.”
Despite the odds stacked heavily against SCFC this weekend, the supporters still believe, so much so that earlier this week, Betway closed the market on promotion after Stockport fans flooded their website!
We also spoke with lifelong County fan, Callum Wilde, who believes that the big occasion will be an advantage for Stockport.
“I think the team will be fine, they have played in front of big and noisy crowds this season, so that won’t be a problem in my opinion. But we all know, Gloucester would love to come to Edgeley Park and spoil the day so we do need to be aware of it”.
Callum also commented on the success we’ve had this season already. “The players have been great. The performances away from home have been superb”.
“The connection between the players and fans this season has been fantastic too. Hopefully it continues on Saturday and helps us to the three points that gets us into the play-offs”.
The Hatters chances of finishing in the top 5 were boosted by the Football Association on Wednesday afternoon, who, after deliberation, rejected Darlington FC’s appeal to take part in the play-offs despite not having the required number of seats at Blackwell Meadows. This essentially means Stockport can finish 6th and still have a chance of promotion.
It was also apparent that as well as wanting to secure success for the fans, Lloyd and Ross were desperate to finish in the top six on a personal level, after both players moved to the club only last summer.
“It would justify my decision to come to County”, Danny told Chris earlier in the week, “I wanted to be involved in another season chasing the play-offs.”
For Ross, who joined from fellow promotion contenders Chorley last year, the feeling was exactly the same.
“Personally, getting into play-offs would mean a great deal to me. It would put us in a position to finish the job that I came here for. It was a really tough decision to move clubs (from Chorley) after all those years.”
It could be argued that regardless of the result on Saturday, it’s been an entertaining season, play-offs or not. Gannon and the players have connected with the club in a way that hasn’t been seen for a while.
Whether it was seeing a return to the FA Cup first round for the first time in years or watching Danny Lloyd bag nearly thirty goals for the season, there have certainly been some highlights, and when was the last time County fans could say that?
Come on County!
County are anticipating a crowd of in excess of 5,000 for tomorrow’s game, and are urging supporters to purchase tickets in advance. Details of how you can attend can be found here.
Author: Chris Crook