Marcus Braddock gives us his preview ahead of Sunday's FA Cup tie with Salford City
This weekend the F.A. Cup takes centre stage with the visit of Salford City to Montgomery Waters Meadow. They're the glamour club in the National League because of their connection with Manchester United stars Ryan Giggs. Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers who all own 10% of the club each. In the four years since they bought into the club, Salford have enjoyed three promotions and look to be eyeing up a fourth with the Ammies sitting pretty in third place in the National League.
Salford haven't lost a league game since August 11th and have only lost twice this season so this is not going to be a stroll. Having watched their highlights this season, this looks like a team that likes to pass the ball if they're given the room to do so. They also look confident but you would expect that from a team near to the top of their division. Having said that, this isn't an unbeatable team and although they've not lost in as long while, they did need very late equalisers in their home game against bottom placed Braintree and away at Eastleigh last weekend.
In Adam Rooney and Rory Gaffney, Salford have two strikers who could easily be playing their football at a higher level. Rooney has scored 12 times in 19 matches this season including a hat-trick away at Dover. He hasn't scored in the four games since then, so he'll be busting a gut to get on the scoreboard against League opposition. Fortunately for Salford, Rory Gaffney has scored four times in four games which takes his total up to seven from 19 games. Twenty-two year old Thomas Walker is just behind Gaffney with five goals from midfield so far this season.
Two from home games and four from away games. Salford's last clean sheet was away against Maidenhead on September 29th.
We Meet Again
It's been a while since Chris Neal played for us but in his last season with us (11/12) he helped us win promotion as part of Graham Turners team. Since then, he's played for Port Vale, helping them to promotion in his first season and although injuries limited his appearances for Vale, he ended up playing 138 games in all competitions before leaving for Fleetwood in July 2016. He spent a couple of years with the Trawler Men but appearances were limited because of the form of Alex Cairns and he left at the end of last season to Join Salford.
Shaun Whalley is still sidelined with a calf injury.
This is the proverbial banana skin for us against one of the best “non league” teams in the country. If we win, nobody bats an eyelid but defeat will draw the sort of attention we can do without. The Ammies form is great so we're going to meet a team high on confidence although they do appear to have slowed down a bit of late with just one win and three draws in their last four games. Against Eastleigh last weekend they were fortunate to come away with a point after a last minute goal. To me, late goals suggests a fit side that wont let up until the final whistle is blown. However. we scored a late winner last weekend though so we should also be competitive to the very end.