Stockport County visit Blyth Spartans this weekend in the hope of consolidating fifth spot and securing that all important home tie in the play-offs.
The game, which is taking place at Blyth’s Croft Park, could see the Hatters move an unassailable nine points clear of sixth spot and only one point behind Kidderminster in fourth with one match of the season to go.
Blyth Spartans were founded almost 120 years ago and despite spending all their time in the lower levels of the English football pyramid, are well known for their numerous FA Cup successes and giant killings over the years, with the club reaching the first round proper quite regularly during the seventies and eighties. The Green Army also made the 3rd round in 2015, before going out to Birmingham City with a 3-2 loss.
The Spartans current manager is none other than County legend Alun Armstrong, and in the former striker’s first season, guided the club to a first place finish to ensure promotion to the National League North for the first time since 2012. This year, after an impressive start to the season which included a 3-1 victory over County at Edgeley Park, the Spartans have dropped out of the play-offs following a poor run of form.
Following terrible form over the previous two months which has included seven straight defeats, the Green Army secured an important victory over Southport on Thursday night to keep their slim play-off hopes alive. A victory over County on Saturday could see the club move ahead of Bradford and York and only one point outside of the top seven.
Jim Gannon is likely to name a similar line-up to the one that secured the point against Chorley on Tuesday. Although top scorer Jason Oswell is hoping to return to the squad after missing the game at Victory Park with a niggling injury.
Darren Stephenson will also be aiming for a start after two impressive cameos off the bench in the previous week, whilst Michael Clarke and Stephen O’Halloran will also be hoping to secure starting spots after only making the bench against the Magpies.
Croft Park, Plessey Road, Blyth, Northumberland, NE24 3JE
Admission for the match will cost supporters between £14 and £6 with under 10’s going free. There will be pay-on-the-gate available for away fans but supporters should be advised that the game will be segregated. Hatters supporters should gain entry via the Plessey Road End and arrive in plenty of time to avoid congestion.
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