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Football Previews
Tuesday 14th February 2017 @ 16:25 by Mark Phillip
Football Sports

Five of our local football teams return to league and cup action tonight.

Steve Burr will be looking to get off to the best possible start as his Stalybridge Celtic squad take on Salford City in the Manchester Premier Cup semi-final at Bower Fold.

Burr, 57, has returned to Celtic for a second managerial spell following the sacking of Paul Phillips and Steve Halford last week.

The former Southport boss, who was sacked by the club in January, has the opportunity to guide Celtic to their second consecutive appearance in the final of the competition against FC United later this year.

Under former manager Liam Watson, Celtic reached the final of last year’s competition but were beaten 3-1 by Mossley.

In a bid to strengthen his squad ahead of the tie, Burr has signed three new players.

Goalkeeper Callum O’Neill has signed on work experience terms from Oldham Athletic, while the midfield has been bolstered with Mathias Bakare and Robert Bourne also joining the club.

Bakare, 21, recently re-joined Ryman League Division One North side Aveley for a second spell.

He has previously played for Billericay Town, Brentwood Town and also Crayford-based VCD Athletic.

Bourne, formerly of Bury, was offered his first professional contract with the Shakers in April 2016.

While there’s a strong possibility that Bakare and Bourne will feature this evening, it has been confirmed that O’Neill will be starting to cover for the cup-tied Grant Shenton.

As for Salford City, the Ammies enter the game on the back of a surprising 3-2 defeat at Gloucester City on Saturday.

Prior to the loss, Anthony Jonhson and Bernard Morley’s side had won their previous three league fixtures against Nuneaton Town, FC United and, most notably, a 5-0 victory over league leaders AFC Fylde.

While the emphatic result provided Salford with the hope of making a charge on the title this season, Saturday’s loss has somewhat reduced that expectation.

Needless to say, Salford remain in a healthy position and certainly look favourites to claim a play-off spot this season.

And if predictions come to light, the Ammies will have the chance of claiming their third successive promotion under Johnson and Morley.

As for player news, Salford have today confirmed the signing of experienced midfielder David Norris.

Making a name for himself with Boston United in 1999, Norris then moved to Bolton for a fee in excess of £50,000, before loan spells with Boston, Hull City and Plymouth Argyle.

Norris also spent time with Ipswich Town, Portsmouth, Leeds United, Peterborough United, Yeovil Town and Blackpool, before more recently signing for Leatherhead at the start of this season.

Elsewhere this evening, Hyde United have the opportunity to progress to the semi-final of the Cheshire Senior Cup.

The Tigers invite a struggling Altrincham to Ewen Fields, who are currently rooted to the foot of the National League North.

Currently 19 points from safety, the Robins’ looked destined for a second consecutive relegation.

As for Hyde’s current predicament, Darren Kelly’s side will enter the tie full of confidence, having stretched their unbeaten league run to four games with a 1-1 draw at promotion chasing Trafford on Saturday.

For a while this season it looked as if Hyde might face a nervy end to the season.

However, a recent upturn in fortunes has alleviated those fears and Hyde can now relish the remaining 12 games.

In order to reach this stage of the competition, the Tigers negotiated an away victory at National League Chester.

Following a 3-3 draw at the end of extra time, Hyde beat Chester 5-4 on penalties.

Elsewhere tonight, Ashton United and Glossop North End are competing in the Doodson League Cup Third Round against Farsley Celtic and Bamber Bridge respectively.

Ashton progressed to this stage of the competition after beating Northwich Victoria 1-0 in the previous round, while the Hillmen beat Leek Town 4-2 on penalties.

Both sides enter their respective fixtures on the back of 4-1 defeats at the weekend.

Ashton were humbled at Barwell, while Glossop suffered the same fate at Farsley Celtic.

And finally, Mossley have the opportunity to move away from the Evo-Stik Division One North relegation zone.

The Lilywhites face Radcliffe Borough at Seel Park, who currently sit just two places and three points above Mossley.

Peter Band’s side were last in action on Saturday against league leaders Lancaster City.

Unsurprisingly, given recent league form – Mossley had lost their previous four fixtures before the clash – Lancaster took maximum points in a 1-0 victory.