Date: Saturday 9 January 2016\r\n\r\nCompetition: Vanarama National League North\r\n\r\nKick-Off: 15:00\r\n\r\nLocation: Whaddon Road, Cheltenham\r\n\r\nHaving won three of their last four games, Gloucester City will look to put their bad run of form against Stalybridge Celtic behind them on Saturday.\r\n\r\nThe Tigers have faced Celtic 13 times in the past heading into Saturday’s meeting, having only won two of these clashes.\r\n\r\nThe last time City claimed three points over Stalybridge came when Charlie Griffin scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 victory at Whaddon Road.\r\n\r\nHeading into the match, the Tigers are brimming with confidence having picked up three wins in four matches, with a late goal at home to Worcester causing the one defeat.\r\n\r\nHowever that result was rectified in the Tigers first match of 2016 as goals from Harry Williams and a penalty from Billy Jones saw City come from a goal down to win.\r\n\r\nThe Tigers home form is less than special however, and Tim Harris is desperate to give the fans something to shout about.\r\n\r\nHe said: “Our support away from home has been fanatical of late and really helped us no end.\r\n\r\n“I can’t be critical of the fans at home purely because we’ve not delivered and we are desperate to give the fans something to shout about against Stalybridge. They’re a strong, mid-table side.\r\n\r\n“Earlier in the season we lost 1-0 against them and played quite well but like all games you have to earn the right and it would be really good if we could get another really good, solid performance.”\r\n\r\nThe opponents: \r\n\r\nThe club’s formation is usually given as 1909. However, it may have been as early as 1906 when an amateur club with the same name was formed.\r\n\r\nThere were players called Storrs and Manwood who played in the 1906 and 1909 teams, and a player called Rhodes who played in the amateur’s first game; a Herbert Rhodes was a significant benefactor of the ‘later’ Celtic.\r\n\r\nThey joined the Cheshire County League remaining members for 60 years and winning the title only once in 1980.\r\n\r\nWith the league’s merger with the Lancashire Combination in 1982, they became founder members of the North West Counties League, winning the title in 1984 and 1987, with the latter triumph resulting in them being promoted to the Northern Premier League (NPL).\r\n\r\nIn 1992 the club won the league title and was promoted to the Football Conference, playing at that level for six seasons to 1998 before being relegated to the NPL again, after finishing bottom.\r\n\r\nThe 2007–08 season was one of the best in recent times; after finishing 18th the previous year, a third-place finish in the league meant a promotion opportunity to the Conference National was presented via the play-offs.\r\n\r\nAfter reaching the final, Stalybridge were denied after a 1–0 defeat to Barrow.\r\n\r\nIn the 2011–12 season, they were a huge contender for a promotion place as late as February before a poor set of results saw their hopes slip away towards the end of the season, finishing sixth in total, just below the last playoff place.\r\n\r\nIn the 2012/13 season, after languishing near the relegation zone for most of the year, they finished 11th following a 9 game unbeaten run. Stalybridge also reached the final of the Cheshire Senior Cup, losing 2–1 to Chester F.C.\r\n\r\nThe 2013/14 season wasn’t a good one either, as Stalybridge finished 19th, narrowly avoiding relegation by 2 points.\r\n\r\nJim Harvey was sacked in October 2013, being replaced by former player Keith Briggs. They secured Conference North football for another season with a 1–1 draw against Bradford Park Avenue in the penultimate game of the season.\r\n\r\nThe 2014/15 season was arguably the worst for a long time. Stalybridge struggled to keep their heads above water, which led to the resignation of Keith Briggs in March 2015.\r\n\r\nHe was replaced by 3 time Conference North winning manager, Liam Watson. This brought a turn around in results, with Watson only losing 1 of his 7 games in charge, winning 4.\r\n\r\nSurvival came down to the final game against Gainsborough, with Stalybridge needing to better Colwyn Bay’s and Brackley’s results. A pulsating match finished 4–4, and they survived on goal difference\r\n\r\nTeam news: \r\n\r\nFemi Orenuga has nearly recovered from his hamstring injury and is likely to be back in one to two weeks.\r\n\r\nSpencer Hamilton has fully recovered from his virus and Marc Richards has also regained full fitness.\r\n\r\nMatt Williams has joined Cinderford Town on a one-month loan deal in order to regain match fitness having not played in over a month.\r\n\r\nMeanwhile, George Miller has joined Frome Town on a dual registration deal.
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