Bragging rights at stake in derby
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