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GLADIATORS TAKE ON THE CELTS IN LEAGUE ENCOUNTER


Matlock Town will be looking to return to winning ways as they travel to Stalybridge Celtic in the Northern Premier League Premier Division on Saturday afternoon.

The Gladiators come into this game in third position in the league following a run of three league games without a win. A win for Matlock could see them move back to the top of the table if other results were to go their way.

Momentum is sorely needed for Paul Phillips's men with their next scheduled league game after this one being a huge derby against fierce rivals Buxton on December 27.

The Opposition

Stalybridge Celtic currently sit mid-table in 11th position in the NPL Premier Division. In their most recent game, Stalybridge secured a 1-1 draw away from home at Basford United in the league following a last-gasp goal from Scott Bakkor. In their most recent game at home, they drew 2-2 with Witton Albion in the league. Across all competitions, Stalybridge have gone five games without a win.

Stalybridge Celtic were officially founded back in 1909 and they play their home games at Bower Fold in the town of Stalybridge in Greater Manchester. The stadium can hold up to 6,500 spectators and has a seated capacity of 1,300. The club are affectionately known as The Celts.

Their manager is former Cardiff City, Wigan Athletic and Tranmere Rovers player Simon Haworth. Haworth also made five appearances for Wales. Haworth was part of the Wigan side that won the Football League Trophy in the 1998-99 season. He previously managed at Eagley and Clitheroe before taking over at Stalybridge in 2018.

It's been a while since the Celts last lifted a trophy. The most recent occasion was in 2003 when they won the Northern Premier League President's Cup. Stalybridge have also won the Northern Premier League title on two occasions with the most recent time being the 2000-01 campaign.


One to Watch

25 year-old Dutch winger Justin Johnson will be a key player to look out for on Saturday afternoon. Johnson has scored seven times in 14 appearances for Stalybridge this season and has also provided three assists. He joined the Celts only three months ago.

Johnson has had an interesting career. He played for the youth teams for Sparta Rotterdam and Manchester United before joining Dundee United for his first deal as a professional player. During that time, he also had a loan spell at York City. After being released by Dundee United, Johnson ended up playing in the Cypriot second tier for Othellos Athienou. Johnson then headed back to Scotland and played for Hamilton Academical and Greenock Morton before joining Stalybridge Celtic in September of this year.

Team News

Shaun Rowley is still unavailable with a hand injury.

New signings Dan Wallis and Nathan Okome will be available for selection.

Skipper Liam Hughes is suspended due to the red card he received in Matlock's most recent game.

Previous Meeting

Alex Byrne was the star of the show when these two sides last met, as his brace secured a 2-1 victory for the Gladiators back in September of this season's league campaign.

Stalybridge took the lead through a Scott Bakkor penalty in the first half but two goals from Alex Byrne in the second half secured all three points for the Gladiators in front of a crowd of 514.

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