National League North: Stalybridge Celtic put on free coach after switching game to Altrincham

STALYBRIDGE CELTIC are so keen to get fans to their relegation battle against Worcester City that they’re offering them a free ride to tomorrow’s game.

Celtic’s fight to avoid slipping out of the National League North has been hampered by a string of postponements, not just at their own Bower Fold ground.

After playing Salford City twice in a week in February, they went 3 weeks before their next game, a 1-0 home defeat by Darlington on March 11. That was followed by a much-needed 4-3 win over Bradford Park Avenue and a 0-0 draw at local rivals ALTRINCHAM last Saturday.

And Bridge will be back at the J. Davidson Stadium this Saturday after deciding to switch the venue for tomorrow’s home fixture.

They were due to host Harrogate Town on Tuesday in the first of 3 home games in 8 days but the match was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. After further rain this week, the club couldn’t risk another postponement as they’re already playing 2 games a week until the last week of their league campaign.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

(Pictures courtesy of Michael Ripley Photography)

With so much riding on the Worcester game, they were desperate for it to go ahead and with rock-bottom Alty away to 5th-bottom Bradford PA, Celtic have arranged a swift return to the J. Davidson Stadium. They are also keen to ensure they get as much support as possible and have compensated fans for the inconvenience of having to make the additional 38-mile round trip to Altrincham by putting on a free 70-seater coach to take them to and from Moss Lane.

It’s Worcester who are immediately above the drop zone, with 2nd-bottom Celtic 11 points behind with 11 games left. But Bridge have 4 games in hand on City and victory over them tomorrow would do wonders for their hopes of pulling off a survival mission.

Manager Steve Burr has made one last addition to his squad in a bid to boost his strike power, signing former Bury striker Andy Bishop on deadline day (yesterday). Bishop and Burr have managed Southport this season before Bishop had a spell with Hyde United in the Evo-Stik North.

“Andy can provide the cutting edge we need during the run-in,” Burr said. “His experience could prove invaluable as we look to pick up the wins we need. He can make the difference.”

Andy Bishop celebrates a goal for Bury
Andy Bishop celebrates a goal for Bury

The 34-year-old, who scored 83 goals in 264 appearances for Bury between 2006 and 2013, goes straight into the squad for tomorrow’s game. Celtic will be without Henoc Mukendi (Sutton Coldfield Town) and Kurt Sherlock (Warrington Town) after both left the club on deadline day.

Tickets are now on sale for the Frank Hannah Manchester Premier Cup final, which is against FC United on Thursday, May 4 at Oldham Athletic’s ground. Advance tickets cost: £8 adults; £5 OAPs, 16-21 & Students; £1 Under-16s (on the night: £10; £7; £3) and are available either at Bower Fold or by clicking here for the Manchester FA website.

The free coach for tomorrow’s game departs Bower Fold at 1.30pm, with one pick-up at Stalybridge bus station. To book, call the club office (0161 338 2828) or Andrew Betts (07769 696862).