Salford City return to The Peninsula Stadium for the first time in 2021 on Friday night for the visit of Harrogate Town!
It’s the first chance of a double this season after James Wilson secured a 1-0 win against Town just over a month ago.
The Ammies have since faced four games on the bounce away from home since a 2-0 win against Walsall on Boxing Day.
However with four home games in the next five, and new signings in the squad, manager Richie Wellens feels Salford can now look to go on an extended run to push for one of League Two’s top spots.
“When you get into these rhythms you can win games on the bounce and get into a real consistent run of form, which is very, very difficult when the postponements of a game have dealt us four away games on the bounce.
“In the next two weeks our travelling will be to a bare minimum so I expect our performance levels to increase, our energy levels to increase, and I think we’re on the verge of putting a real good run together especially with the new faces that we’ve added to the squad.”
The manager has been back in training this week after missing last Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Newport with a chest infection, and says there are a couple of things he took from last weekend’s game.
“I think we could have been more adventurous definitely in the last 20 minutes, we didn’t want to play that way but we know playing at Newport at this time of year the pitch can deteriorate very, very quickly.
“I think we played the conditions well, we were organised and very physical but we didn’t make their goalkeeper work not near enough what we would have liked to.
“But the upturn of that, we’re playing top of the league away from home and I don’t think Vac had a save to make so a couple of negatives but positives as well.”
New signings Robbie Gotts and Tom James could make their home debuts, but Tom Clarke is a doubt after requiring stitches in his foot at Rodney Parade. Ash Eastham and Bruno Andrade are back in contention, while Richie Towell could play some part.
It’s difficult to say that much has changed for Town except the arrival of six new faces to bolster Simon Weaver’s squad. The EFL newcomers are ticking along contently and have recruited early to make up for injuries and add a bit extra to ensure their survival in League Two.
Amongst the new arrivals are highly-rated young winger Josh McPake on loan from Rangers and winger Simon Power from Norwich City, and the return to fitness of Josh Falkingham is like a new signing in itself.
Still looking for a first league win against Salford at the eighth attempt, Town may fancy their chances at The Peninsula Stadium with the second best away record in League Two.
“I’ve seen a few of their games and they like to try and pull you into a basketball-type game where they leave two up,” said Wellens.
“The front two are very physical and can lean into people, and they’ve got good players in the middle of the park, in Falkingham and Ed Francis they’ve got two very good footballers in there but I think if we keep the ball and make the pitch big when we’re in possession then we’ll cause them problems.
“It was a difficult game when we played them away, I felt we deserved the win and I was a bit frustrated that in the second half we didn’t make it two and three, but when we’re playing them teams early on in the season that have been promoted from the Conference and start the season really well, they can be difficult games for us.
“The season’s kind of settled down now so at home I’m expecting to go and get three points.”
HOW TO WATCH
Friday’s game is available to watch online at live.salfordcityfc.co.uk. It is included in Season Ticket Holders’ packages, and non-Season Ticket Holders can buy a pass for £10 in the UK or £7 abroad.