By Ryan Batty:
For the final time in 2017, Nantwich Town will suit up for battle at the Weaver Stadium. They take on Mickleover Sports this weekend and look to round out the year with three points, and the perfect way to see out this calendar year. However, after this week’s disappointing 0-0 draw with Sutton Coldfield, The Dabbers return to top form in order return to winning ways this weekend.
Nantwich Town vs Mickleover Sports
Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division
Weaver Stadium, Nantwich
30th December 2017
U16s: £3 (Free if accompanied by one full-paying adult)
Last Time Out
Nantwich huffed and puffed, but couldn’t come out with a win in their Boxing Day fixture with Sutton Coldfield. Despite numerous chances to get a goal, The Dabbers lacked a clinical edge in the final third. However, there were many things on display that impressed and hopefully they can put improvements into action for this weekend’s fixture.
Mickleover currently sit in 14th, and six points above Nantwich, though The Dabbers have six games in hand on Sports. They also suffered from a Boxing Day scoreless draw with Halesowen, and have picked up four points from their last five games. The two sides have also met before this season, when Nantwich travelled to the Don Amott Arena back in August, and The Dabbers were able to pick up a 2-1 victory.
The Manager – John McGrath
John is currently the player-manager of Mickleover Sports, joining in 2015. The Irish manager has played for the likes of Aston Villa, Doncaster and Weymouth, as well as making over two-hundred appearances for Burton Albion between 2007 and 2013. Additionally, McGrath also made a handful of appearances for Republic of Ireland’s U21s side at the turn of the century, but was never able to break into the first eleven. The thirty-seven year old is a highly experienced coach and will be a tough mind to crack for Dave Cooke’s men.
Key Man – Pablo Mills (Defender)
Pablo was Mickleover’s Player of the Season last year, playing in 44 of the 46 league games last year, scoring three goals. A scrappy defender, Mills spent the early part of his career with Derby County in the Championship, as well as spending time at Rotherham, Crawley (where he was man of the match in the side that played Manchester United in the FA Cup 5th Round that year) and Bury. Mills also played for England’s youth teams up to the U19 level.
Our Last Meeting
Goals from Sean Cooke and Kaiman Anderson capped an excellent Nantwich turnaround after going a goal down early on, back in August. Sports took the lead after 6 minutes when Bradley Grayson prodded home after a cross, but Cooke equalised from the penalty spot after half-time, blasting the ball down the middle. Anderson completed the comeback after he found himself in space, but the striker was able to smash the ball home with his left foot of the underside of the bar.