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Week 20 Preview – Alsager Town

After a seeming non-stop carousel of fixtures, the Ravens have found themselves, unexpectedly, coming out of an enforced two-week break, and Chris Bass’ chargers will be chomping at the bit to welcome The Bullets of Alsager Town to the Bowl tomorrow.

Our Opponents this Week

Alsager Town were formed in 1968 and have been part of the North West Counties Football League since earning promotion from the Midland Football League in 1998. During their time in the NWCFL they have played as high as Division One in the Northern Premier League (Step 4 in the National League System) as recently as 2006.

We have, of course already matched up against the Bullets this season, indeed it was against the south Cheshire side, back in August, that the Ravens earned their first ever win in the NWCFL. The deadlock, of what was initially a close encounter, was broken that day by Jack Camarda’s rasping right foot drive into the top corner. Further goals from Luke Murray and Lee Gale gave the Ravens a 3-0 win as the club earned a then vital first three points of the season.

That loss to the Ravens unfortunately started a poor run for Alsager Town and they lost seven of their next ten games as they slumped towards the bottom end of the table. However, after an impressive win against Abbey Hulton at the start of the November, their form has improved somewhat, winning three of their last five games, and the Bullets will come all guns blazing to the Bowl tomorrow in a relatively safe 15th place in the league.

FC Isle of Man Team News

Despite the break the Raven players have been training hard as usual with their twice weekly early morning sessions. Indeed, manager Chris Bass threw in an extra session last week as local Boxing coach, Peter Roberts put the lads through their paces in an altogether different type of training.

However, the break has not been too kind to the Ravens, as they are likely to be without a few players for this week’s encounter. ‘Man on Fire’ Sean Doyle is unfortunately unavailable, as is the ultimate utility player Ash Higginbotham. In addition, Chris Cannell remains doubtful through injury as does the saviour of the ‘BernaBowl,’ Furo Davies. The striker faces a race against time to make it into tomorrow’s match day squad after picking up a knock in training. Lee Gale will serve the second of his three-match suspension.

On the plus side, the skipper Jack McVey is back this week and a big round of applause for Alex Harrison, who after 20 months out through injury and a solitary cameo appearance at St Martins last month, could be in contention to make his full debut for the club this weekend. It will be a huge moment for ‘Albo’ should he make it onto the pitch after such a long time out of the game.

It has seemed a bit odd not having a game for 14 days, the first time that has happened since mid-September, and we hope the supporters have had the same withdrawal symptoms as the players.

To date the fans at each of our recent home games have been nothing short of sensational, and the atmosphere during the last twenty minutes of that incredible, if not a little fortunate, comeback against Maine Road two weeks ago is still very much in the memory of the players. Lets’ try and replicate that tomorrow.