Brag­ging rights at stake in derby

Manchester Evening News - - SPORT -

HISTORY will be made at Boundary Park to­mor­row as Old­ham Ath­letic and Sal­ford City face each other in a com­pet­i­tive fix­ture for the first time.

It will be the first meet­ing be­tween Sal­ford and a Greater Manch­ester-based side in any EFL com­pe­ti­tion since their pro­mo­tion to League Two.

Both come into the game off the back of im­pres­sive Box­ing Day wins, with Old­ham beat­ing More­cambe 2-1 and Sal­ford see­ing off Crewe Alexan­dra 3-1 to set up an ex­cit­ing en­counter at Boundary Park.

That win against Crewe leaves the Am­mies 11th and seven points off a play-off place, but man­ager Gra­ham Alexander says his squad must con­tinue to re­main fo­cused to max­imise re­sults dur­ing a busy run of fix­tures.

He said: “We spoke to the play­ers on Christ­mas Eve about the re­spon­si­bil­ity of pre­par­ing for games and this when our pro­fes­sion­al­ism has to kick in.

“Every­one else is on hol­i­day mode eat­ing and drink­ing what­ever they want, but we can’t, it’s our re­spon­si­bil­ity to per­form to the high­est level.

“It’s im­por­tant that they un­der­stand the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties that they carry and if the per­for­mance and work ethic (vs Crewe) is to go by, they’ve done the right things.

“But we need to con­tinue that this week be­cause we’ve got a big game at Old­ham with lo­cal brag­ging rights and we want to con­tinue where we left off.”

Old­ham’s win at the Globe Arena on Thurs­day saw them record back-to-back league vic­to­ries for the first time this sea­son. It lifted them to 17th in League Two, nine points clear of the rel­e­ga­tion zone and within three points of to­mor­row’s op­po­nents.

And with three wins from their last five league games, head coach Dino Maam­ria be­lieves his side can con­tinue their form and move up the table.

He said: “I’m just de­lighted for ev­ery­body to get that sec­ond win on the bounce that puts us on 26 points and we can start looking up now, looking ahead to the Sal­ford game with a lot of op­ti­mism.

“Speak­ing to the play­ers I’m looking at the form table and try­ing to top that so we can con­tinue to go in the right di­rec­tion.

“The job is to make sure we get each other ready over the next cou­ple of days.

“I know Sal­ford had a good win and will bring sup­port and I’m sure our fans will do the same as it’s go­ing to be a big game for us.

“It would ob­vi­ously be fan­tas­tic to get that third win on the bounce.”

NON-LEAGUE Stock­port travel to AFC Fylde today know­ing a win on the coast could lift them to third in the Na­tional League, writes CONNOR WHITLEY.

The Hat­ters have been in fine home form, scor­ing 13 in their last three games at Edge­ley Park.

Fylde can­not say the same of their home form, with their last league vic­tory at Mill Farm com­ing on Novem­ber 23.

Cur­zon Ash­ton host high-fly­ing Ch­ester FC in the Na­tional League North as they look to end a run of three de­feats.

The Nash re­main one place above the rel­e­ga­tion zone but af­ter their Box­ing Day de­feat to Al­trin­cham are now just four points be­hind Blyth Spar­tans in 21st .

Al­trin­cham also host a high-fly­ing Na­tional League North side in the shape of South­port as they look to kick on af­ter their vic­tory at Cur­zon.

A win at the J David­son Sta­dium could see the Robins go within seven points of the play-offs with four games in hand over Fars­ley Celtic, who sit in seventh.

South­port’s Box­ing Day de­feat to Ch­ester was their first win in seven games.

FC United travel to Ash­ton United in a lo­cal derby with the sides at op­po­site ends of the North­ern Premier Di­vi­sion table.

A sixth con­sec­u­tive win for FC could see them climb to third while a vic­tory for Ash­ton could lift them out of the bot­tom two where they cur­rently sit, just one point be­hind Gains­bor­ough Trin­ity.

Sal­ford man­ager Gra­ham Alexander

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