Stockport County re-sign Gonzales in time for FC United derby

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Sefton Gonzales after signing for County in 2015

STOCKPORT COUNTY have boosted their squad for Saturday’s National League North derby against FC UNITED by re-signing striker Sefton Gonzales.

The 25-year-old first joined the Hatters from Clitheroe in 2015, failing to score in 10 goals under Neil Young. But Jim Gannon, Young’s successor as County boss, brought him back to Edgeley Park on Friday after a brief spell with local rivals STAYLYBRIDGE CELTIC.

Gonzales returned to Clitheroe in 2015 then joined Chorley last summer before playing for Colne and Bridge this term. He impressed on his Celtic debut last month against Curzon Ashton, and then proved a handful for County 5 days later as the Hatters ground out a 3-1 win.

Gannon said: “When I first saw Sefton at Clitheroe against my Northwich Victoria team he reminded me of Liam Dickinson. He had the physical profile to lead the line like a classic, big centre-forward but I felt he also possessed the physical skills of mobility, power and pace that could make him an effective ‘point’ attacker in the modern three-man attack.

“This, added to his goal-scoring record and technical ability to bring others into the game, suggested he had the potential to step up the non-league levels. Unfortunately the environment wasn’t right for Sefton (last time) to develop as a player and make the progress I felt he could have made. I think since then Sefton hasn’t quite settled long enough at a club to allow him to develop his understanding of the game at this level and build his confidence to fulfil his potential.

“I was impressed enough in his recent showings for Stalybridge Celtic to feel he still has something to offer a higher-placed team. And just as important was his determination to work his way back to this level, despite the knocks he must’ve had over the last season or so. I have said consistently that the type of player we are recruiting at County as we move forward are those proven but with potential, and I feel that Sefton fits that bill. He’s a player that I’m really looking forward to working with and I trust that he will help give the team a lift as we go into the demanding few months towards the end of the season.”

After last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Alfreton, County are outside the play-off places on goal difference and go into Saturday’s game 11 unbeaten in the league.

The Hatters also signed left-back Connor Hampson from Curzon this week while Gannon has let Max Cartwright join Evo-Stik Premier side Ashton United on a one-month loan. Both Gonzales and Hampson are available to face FC at Edgeley Park. Tickets aren’t available on the day but County’s club shop has extended its opening hours till 7pm on Friday evening. FC United were beaten 3-0 at home in last month’s derby with Salford City but are 13th in the table after a 3-3 draw at home to Chorley last week.

Steve Burr has returned as STALYBRIDGE boss with the club second-bottom, and besides Gonzales, Adam Morning, Chris Baguley and Florian Da Silva also left the club on Friday.
Celtic won Tuesday night’s Manchester Premier Cup semi-final at home to SALFORD CITY and the two sides meet again at Moor Lane this Saturday in Burr’s first league game back in charge.

Salford have now lost their last 2 after being beaten away to Gloucester last Saturday, which saw them slip to 3rd, so the Ammies are determined to revive their title challenge.~
They signed former Leeds, Ipswich and Plymouth midfielder David Norris on Monday and he was one of 7 players that came into the starting line-up at Stalybridge.

CURZON are below FC on goal difference and host Alfreton on Saturday while rock-bottom ALTRINCHAM host Harrogate Town.