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Stalybridge Celtic welcome Harrogate Town for final home game of the season
Tuesday 25th April 2017 @ 14:32 by Mark Phillip
Football Sports

Stalybridge Celtic make their final appearance on home soil this evening, as Steve Burr’s side welcome Harrogate Town to Bower Fold in the National League North.

Celtic enter the game having been relegated to the Evo-Stik Premier Division on Saturday,  after falling to a 4-0 loss at home to Tamworth – their 27th defeat of the season.

Meanwhile, Harrogate enter the game knowing they won’t be able to move above their current position of 11th spot this season, although they do have the chance to cement their mid-table finish with three points tonight.

Given the reported riches at Wetherby Road this season, Harrogate’s current league standing is somewhat surprising and many supporters will feel the club have underachieved.

That said, Town fans will have enjoyed watching the transformation of Simon Ainge throughout the campaign, who has netted 21 times since switching from defence to attack.

Only Tamworth’s Dan Newton, who has netted 27 times, and runaway scorer Danny Rowe, 46, have registered more times than Ainge this season.

Harrogate have recently announced that they’ll be joining the full-time ranks next season, following in the footsteps of AFC Fylde and Kidderminster Harriers. Explaining the decision to Non-League Daily TV, manager Simon Weaver said: “I think we’ve seen this season how the National League North has progressed, and at the top of the league it’s been Kidderminster and Fylde.

“Both having made those decisions (to go full-time) – and I’m sure not lightly – they’ve both progressed as a squad and a setup really.

“We’ve got a similar mind-set in that we’re ambitious, we want to progress to the next level, and we think that with a single vision in the changing room, and as a club, we’ve got more chance of doing that by going full-time.”

Although tonight’s fixture is a fairly meaningless encounter for both sides, it could prove to be important for the individual player, as talks of contract renewals will probably begin after 5pm on Saturday.