Stockport County host Alfreton Town at Edgeley Park this boxing day, ahead of the reverse fixture on New Years Day against the Derbyshire side.
The local festive double-headers rule that the National League apply, however, is seemingly lost on County, who will this time have to travel almost two hours to reach their opponents when we travel there later in the week.
The Hatters will be hoping that a promising performance at Curzon can be replicated in front of a home crowd in need of some Christmas cheer.
Until as recently as 2015, Alfreton Town had been playing in the National League Premier division under the management of Nicky Law, and in the 2012-2013 season, Law led Alfreton to their highest ever position of 13th in the fifth tier of English Football. Fast-forward a couple of years and a disappointing season meant that the Reds finishing 21st and resulting in their relegation to the Vanarama National League North for the 2015/16.
Since that relegation, Town have struggled to make it back into the promotion mix, finishing 10th in 2016 and 18th in 2017. Unfortunately, despite the club making a big statement of intent during the close season, by re-signing their player of the year, Brad McGowan and making no less than nine signings before pre-season even began, the Reds are currently sitting in 15th and six points behind County, with only two wins and ten losses in their last 12 matches.
Matty Warburton, who is hoping to return in the new year from his ligament injury, will miss out. Michael Clarke may also be rested after going off injured against Lancaster City in the FA Trophy.
Bohan Dixon will aim to start, having made an impact off the bench in the trophy, whilst Ben McKenna, who was an unused sub at the Giant Axe, will look to break into the team ahead of Kallum Mantack or Darren Stephenson.
Edgeley Park, Hardcastle Road, Stockport, SK3 9DD.
Admission for the game will cost County fans £15/£10/£5 with pay-on-the-gate available for both home and away supporters.
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