1. Managerless Wigan aim to move on
WIGAN begin life without Gary Caldwell with a trip to Cardiff in the Championship. The former Latics defender paid the price for their poor start in midweek and the club has since announced that Mike Pollitt and Malcotm Crosby have also left. Ex-Latic Pollitt was goalkeeping coach while Caldwell appointed Crosby as chief scout earlier this year. Caldwell’s assistant Graham Barrow, a former Wigan player and manager, and development squad manager Peter Atherton will be in charge of the team on Saturday, assisted by first-team coach Joe Parkinson. Wigan go into the game second-bottom while Cardiff are 20th after a mini-revival under Neil Warnock.
2. Derby day at Rochdale
ROCHDALE have a flawless derby record this season having beaten both Bolton and Bury, and OLDHAM are the next local rival to make the short trip to the Crown Oil Arena. Those derby wins contributed to a seven-match winning streak, which propelled Dale up the League One table, but they are now eager to bounce back to winning ways after losing at Swindon and Coventry. Oldham won at Bury in August but then went nine without a win. Things are now looking up for the Latics, though, having won three of their last five, including a win over leaders Scunthorpe.
3. Can Stockport maintain run?
STOCKPORT COUNTY have restored hope of mounting a promotion challenge this term after climbing to ninth in the National League North. The Hatters have won their last four, conceding just one in the process, and they face a test of their promotion credentials at home to fifth-placed Kidderminster on Saturday. County’s recent run began with back-to-back home wins over SALFORD CITY in the FA Cup then the league and the Ammies have continued to struggled, allowing County to climb above them last weekend. Salford’s joint-manager Anthony Johnson accepts the pressure is on as they visit AFC Telford looking for their first league win in eight while STALYBRIDGE CELTIC have a big game at Bradford Park Avenue, who won 3-2 at Altrincham in midweek to leave Celtic bottom of the table.
4. Who will remain on the road to Wembley?
The FA Trophy continues this weekend with the first qualifying round being played. MOSSLEY knocked out Northwich Victoria in the last round but have lost three out of four since, including a 4-1 setback at home to Trafford in the league last Saturday. They aim to bounce back by knocking out Farsley. TRAFFORD look to follow up that win by continuing their run at Bamber Bridge while Ashton United and Ramsbottom United have home ties.
5. Macron Cup 2nd Round
West Didsbury & Chorlton aim to bounce back from a run of six defeats from seven as they host Darwen in the North West Counties Premier but the rest of their league rivals are playing in the League Challenge Cup. New Mills are 18th in the Premier Division but will be hopeful of progressing as they’re at home to Silsden, who are 13th in the First Division.
EFL: Barnsley v Wigan, Bolton v Port Vale, Northampton v Bury, Rochdale v Oldham.
National League: Maidstone United v Macclesfield Town, Worcester City v Altrincham, Curzon Ashton v Gainsborough Trinity, FC United v Gloucester City, AFC Telford v Salford City, Bradford PA v Stalybridge Celtic, Stockport County v Kidderminster.
FA Trophy: Ashton United v Marine, Mossley v Farsley Celtic, Ramsbottom United v Prescot Cables, Bamber Bridge v Trafford.
Evo-Stik League: Ossett Town v Hyde United, Radcliffe Borough v Colne.
NWCFL: West Didsbury & Chorlton v Darwen.
Macron Cup: Widnes v Cheadle Town (Friday), Ashton Town v Abbey Hey, Holker Old Boys v Chadderton, Whitchurch Alport v Maine Road, New Mills v Silsden, Prestwich Heys v City of Liverpool.