The matches are now coming thick and fast for the Ravens. After two incredibly close games in our opening two encounters we sit 16th in the table on two points, and while that may not seem that impressive, we could just as easily have six.
We now find ourselves looking forward to one of our longer journeys as we prepare for the 240-mile round trip to the Cheshire market town of Alsager.
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.
The Bullets have played at their current ground, Wood Park Stadium, since their inception.
The Cheshire club have started the season quite well. After an opening day loss at home to West Didsbury, the Bullets have hit back with two convincing wins. Firstly, on the road at Stafford Town, which they followed up with another victory over Maine Road at Wood Park last Saturday. They currently sit seventh in the Division One (South) table.
FC Isle of Man Team News
There are two forced absences this week, but, manager, Chris Bass can largely pick from the same squad of 16 that travelled to Wythenshawe last week. Frank Jones and Sam Caine remain on the injured list, while longer term absentees, Alex Harrison and Sean Quaye are continuing their respective comebacks and have been able to take part in some elements of training this week.
A couple of other players have returned to training having recovered from illness, but are unlikely to be match fit to travel. On the plus side, both Jacob Crook and goalkeeper Matthew Quirk are fit again and back in the frame for a place in this week’s travelling party.
On the pitch, Ste Whitley will be looking forward to maintaining his excellent form from the opening two games, which so far have seen him have a hand in all three of our goals.
Luke Murray has looked a handful at centre forward and ‘Lurch’ scored his first goal for the club last week at Wythenshawe Amateurs.
The Raven’s very own Benjamin Button, aka, Chris Bass jr will likely maintain captaincy duties after making his club debut last week. At the other end of the age scale, 18-year-old Sam Baines will be looking to maintain his good form in the centre of midfield. Bass sr has so far entrusted the midfield roles to his younger players and Baines has been ably assisted by Sid Batty and Jack Camarda in the first two games. Both will be keen to be selected again this week.
At the full back positions, another teenager, Adam Cooil lived up to his surname at Hollyhedge Park and was excellent in replacing the injured Caine, while utility man Ashley Higginbotham was outstanding last week at left back. In the centre of defence Alex Maitland and Ryan Burns have been very solid in the opening two games.
There have been two huge performances so far and everyone has risen to the challenge and this week the manager and the players will be hugely motivated to bring home our first three points.