Salford City make a temporary return to league action on Saturday when Aldershot Town visit The Peninsula Stadium for the first time.
The Ammies remain unbeaten in the league since August, a run of 16 games (W11 D5), and will be hoping to make that 17 with a win at home having drawn the last two against Braintree Town and Ebbsfleet United.
Visitors Aldershot Town and manager Gary Waddock know about the importance of unbeaten runs after the 56-year-old led The Shots to promotion from the (then-called) Conference in 2007-08, on the back of an 18-game unbeaten run at the end of the season.
Waddock led The Shots to a 15th-place finish in their first season in the Football League, but early in the 2009-10 season he departed for Wycombe Wanderers. Aldershot lasted in the Football League until 2012-13, and have competed in non-league’s top flight for the last five seasons.
They have steadily progressed and have always bettered or equalled their final position in the table. That significantly improved in 2016-17 when Waddock returned and led them to fifth from where they lost in the play-offs, a fate that was repeated last season.
Despite retaining a number of last season’s squad The Shots had an unforgettable start to the season as they failed to score in four of their first five games, and won at the fourth attempt.
Form has improved and Aldershot visit Salford in the comforts of mid-table (13th), with eyes firmly set on catching up the play-off chasers as well as an Emirates FA Cup First Round replay at Bradford City to look forward to on Tuesday evening.
A couple of shrewd loan signings have played their part in the improved run of form as has an increased number of goals scored.
George Fowler had put one Aldershot foot in the FA Cup Second Round last weekend before Bradford equalised in the second half on a very saturated pitch at the EBB Stadium, but it succeeded in making it three games unbeaten for The Shots.
They have lost just one of the last six, away at Gateshead at the end of October, which is also the only game in the last eight they have failed to score in.
The three games since have all been at home which is where Aldershot have enjoyed most success this season; away from home they have won one and drawn one from nine.
One to watch: Adam McDonnell
The midfielder is one of a number of young players in Aldershot’s side at 21 (the average age of the Bradford line-up was 23). But his contribution has been significant with three goals in five outings, including one in the 1-1 draw with Boreham Wood and the winner against Braintree Town in Shots’ last league game.
McDonnell arrived at The EBB Stadium initially on loan from Ipswich Town last season before making the move permanent in January. This year he has missed just one game, away at Solihull Moors in August.