SALFORD CITY welcome FC United of Manchester to The Peninsula Stadium on New Year’s Day in the second leg of this festive double header (KO 15:00).
The Reds won the reverse fixture against 10-man Salford at Broadhurst Park on Boxing Day, but Salford will be keen to avoid a third consecutive defeat to start off 2018.
Recently The Ammies have started off the New Year strongly; they have won the first game in the last two years against Bradford Park Avenue (2017) and Barwell (2016).
Similarly FC United have a decent record and haven’t lost their first game in a year since 2011 (W4 D2) when a trip to FC Halifax Town ended in a 4-1 defeat. Salford captain Liam Hogan played for The Shaymen on that day, while Jamie Vardy scored the opening goal.
Last season The Ammies won their first home game in the National League North against FC United courtesy of Mike Phenix’s first half strike, and completed the league double with a 3-0 win at Broadhurst Park.
While the double isn’t possible this season, there is the element of pride and bragging rights up for grabs in the second leg of this derby.
Salford haven’t lost three consecutive league games since November 2014, however Bernard Morley is confident that Salford are not going to let it happen for a first time under him and Anthony Johnson.
“We’ve lost two on the bounce and potentially people will be thinking we could be losing three. It’s football and every single person has been through it.
“We don’t need to panic and that’ll be our message to the lads.
“FC will come thinking and knowing they can beat us again and that’s down to us as a team and the dressing room not to allow that to happen.”
Salford will be without Scott Burton after the midfielder was sent off in each of the last two games, and will serve a seven-match ban.
Richie Allen, who was substituted with illness at half-time at Broadhurst Park, is feeling better and is part of an otherwise fully-fit squad.
FC United have no injury concerns and on New Year’s Eve signed Adam Gilchrist, brother of former striker Jason who is now at Southport.
Also a forward, Gilchrist has played in the Northern Premier League and North West Counties for the last 10 years and adds another attacking option to Tom Greaves’ side.