Dabbers look to kick off the season with a win against Stalybridge


Preview: Stalybridge Celtic (A)

Dave Cooke’s new-look Nantwich side kick off their Evo-Stik Premier campaign on Saturday afternoon with a visit to Stalybridge Celtic – one of the promotion favourites. Cooke, starting a third stint in the Dabbers’ hot seat following his summer appointment, has put together a promising new squad and will be encouraged by the entertaining way they started to gel in a hectic pre-season.

It’s now, though, that results matter and a trip to relegated Stalybridge will be a stern test.  It is the first time that Nantwich have visited Bower Fold for a league fixture in 35 years, when Cooke himself donned a green jersey in a 4-1 defeat.  Celtic boss Steve Burr has re-invigorated his squad with a number of signings, including former Dabber duo Aaron Burns and Adam Jones while Stalybridge chairman Rob Gorski has pulled no punches about his ambitions for the coming campaign.  “Without wanting to put pressure on the management team or the players, I’ve made it very clear; I want promotion!” he said.  “Some of the board wanted to slash the budget due to the enormous loss of revenue this coming season…but my view is that there is no point in having Steve Burr and giving him a paltry budget. It would be like having an Aston Martin in a 20mph zone. Pointless!”

The match should be an absorbing encounter with Dabber fans hoping for a repeat of the clubs’ last meeting – when Burns and Kyle Blake netted in a 2-0 win in the Cheshire Senior Cup three years ago.  Whatever the result, it can’t be worse than when Nantwich visited Bower Fold for a Cheshire County League clash back in October 1932.  The 16-2 defeat that day remains the Dabbers’ biggest ever defeat!


The Gaffer’s View:

With the new season now upon us, I know everybody connected with Nantwich Town whether it be the directors, players, the management team and supporters, are all excited as the football season is nearly upon us. It certainly has been a whirlwind 3 months, since I took over having spoken to many players and probably more agents whom each describe their players as the next ‘Messi’, I now feel we have a squad that will do the town proud.

My first job was to make sure what players we had left were re-signing. Sam Hall, Matt Bell and Joel Stair have been instrumental to the Dabbers steady progress over the last couple of seasons, and were the first to commit to the club, Ryan Brooke and Sean Cooke quickly followed suit to sign. Since then I set about the task of building the rest of the squad which has been decimated in the summer. We have been steadily building the squad up as the pre-season began to unfold, it certainly didn’t help when Ryan Brooke got injured in the practice game and Matt Bell getting kicked in the ribs during the Leek Town friendly. Sam Hall also had a break away, so in most of the friendlies we have missed some of our big players at one point or another. Still it gave others a chance for us to see what they could do, although results have been encouraging you get no points for friendly games.

The players conditioning and fitness levels have steadily improved over recent weeks and now the season is upon us they are all fit and raring to go. Ryan Brooke and Sean Cooke are now back in full training and both won’t be far away when the season starts. Another massive boost is the return of Casper Hughes, I have known for Casper from a very early age and he is truly a great footballer, so here’s to the new season.

Up The Dabbers!


Last 6 meetings:

15/10/14 Cheshire Senior Cup Prelim Round (A) W 2-0 Blake, Burns Att: 144
24/04/12 Cheshire Senior Cup Final (N) W 1-0 Lennon Att: 449
11/12/10 FA Trophy 1st Round Proper (A) L 1-2 Jack Att: 321
05/10/10 Cheshire Senior Cup 1st Round (H) W 1-0 Lennon Att: 383
12/12/09 FA Trophy 1st Round Proper (H) L 0-3 Att: 581
15/09/04 Cheshire Senior Cup Prelim Round (H) L 0-4 Att: 70


Other Fixtures:

All to take place at 3pm on Saturday unless otherwise stated:

Altrincham v Stafford Rangers
Barwell v Whitby Town
Buxton v Lancaster City
Farsley Celtic v Coalville Town
Grantham Town v Marine
Hednesford Town v Ashton United
Mickleover Sports v Witton Albion
Stourbridge v Matlock Town (Sunday 3.00pm)
Sutton Coldfield Town v Shaw Lane
Warrington Town v Rushall Olympic
Workington v Halesowen Town


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