Stockport County manager Jim Gannon

National League North: Stockport County hope to benefit from home comforts as play-off race hots up

STOCKPORT COUNTY boss Jim Gannon hopes the Hatters can now stick some points on the board after matching the National League North’s top two.

County hit the road to face SALFORD CITY and leaders AFC Fylde in the space of 4 days and not only did they come away from each game with a point, they felt they should have earned more.

Salford claimed a late equaliser to draw 1-1 on Saturday before County’s first trip to Fylde’s new Mill Farm ground ended goalless on Tuesday.

That left the Hatters in 7th place, just one point outside the play-off places, and they now have back-to-back home games against Tamworth tomorrow then mid-table Nuneaton next Saturday.

“They were two really positive results,” said Gannon. “Two points is slim picking from two away games but it shows how far we’ve come, to come away from Salford a bit disappointed not to get 3 points and then Fylde knowing we could have got more than one.

“I expect Fylde to be champions. Kidderminster and Salford are strong enough to be in the play-offs but there’s a real scramble emerging for the other spots.

“We don’t fear anybody because as the season’s gone on we’ve kept growing. But we’re not really worried about the play-offs at this moment. What we need to do now is get back to Edgeley Park over the next couple of weeks, maximise the points and get ourselves right in the mix.”

Top of the National League North
Top of the National League North

Danny Lloyd looked disappointed when he was brought off against his old club Fylde on 67 minutes. But Gannon explained he wanted to protect his top scorer for tomorrow’s game against Tamworth, who are just 4 points behind County in 8th, and the rest of the run-in.

“Apart from one little burst in the 2nd half, I didn’t think Danny offered the same threat as he normally does, and I wanted to get Kaine Felix onto the pitch,” explained Gannon.

“I want to make sure we don’t overuse Danny. I want to make sure he’s fighting fresh for Saturday because it’s a huge game and we need a fully recharged Danny Lloyd.

“After Kaine got into his stride you could see the threat he had. It was a difficult one because I don’t think we can play both of them without taking away from our defensive solidity.”

It was deadline day yesterday and Gannon let striker John Marsden join league rivals AFC Telford on a month’s loan, while defender Ryan Ellison was loaned to Evo-Stik North side Trafford for a month.

The dates for the play-offs were also confirmed this week and are like so:
Semi-Final 1st leg – Wednesday, May 3: 5th v 2nd, 4th v 3rd (7.45pm kick-off).
Semi-Final 2nd leg – Sunday, May 7: 2nd v 5th, 3rd v 4th (3pm kick-off).
Promotion Final – Saturday, May 13: hosted by team which finished highest in the league (3pm).