THE PREVIEW | Witton Albion Vs MTFC - Pitching In NPL - 15.1.22
Top of the table Matlock Town will be looking to make it four league wins in a row on Saturday afternoon as they travel to Witton Albion in the Northern Premier League Premier Division.
The Gladiators currently sit two points clear as the NPL Premier Division leaders following victories over Stalybridge Celtic, Buxton and Hyde United.
Witton Albion are currently second from bottom in the Northern Premier League Premier Division and are in the middle of a relegation dogfight. However, they have played less games than all of their relegation rivals. In their most recent game, Witton drew 1-1 at home against Gainsborough Trinity in the league with Callum Saunders scoring Witton's only goal. Witton have also gone five competitive games without a victory.
Witton Albion were founded all the way back in 1887 and are affectionately known as just Albion or The Albs. They play their home games at Wincham Park in the village of Wincham which belongs to Northwich. The stadium lies very close to the Trent and Mersey Canal. Witton Albion started playing their home games here in 1989. The ground can hold a capacity of 4,813.
Albion's manager is Carl Macauley. Macauley has previously managed Marine and also used to be Chester's assistant manager. Macauley played for Witton Albion too and was part of the team that won the Cheshire Senior Cup in successive seasons.
The club's main rivals are Northwich Victoria and 1874 Northwich.
The last trophy Witton Albion lifted was back in the 2011-12 season when they won the Northern Premier League Division One play-offs. Witton reached the FA Trophy final back in the 1991-92 campaign.
Former Witton players include the likes of Geoff Horsfield, Andy Oakes, Nicky Marnard and (genuinely!) the comedian John Bishop!
One to Watch
Striker Callum Saunders is certainly a key player to look out for on Saturday afternoon. Despite Witton's struggles, Saunders has scored 12 league goals so far this season and is currently in excellent form. Only three players have scored more goals than him in the NPL Premier Division so far in this campaign.
Saunders started his playing career at Crewe Alexandra where he scored two goals in 35 appearances for the League One outfit. The 26 year-old has since gone on to play for Notts County, Nantwich Town and Curzon Ashton. Callum joined Witton Albion in September during this season.
Saunders was born in Turkey and has played internationally for Wales at U19 and U21 level.
Callum is the son of former Liverpool, Aston Villa and Wales striker Dean Saunders.
Manager Paul Phillips said on social media after the Hyde United game that he's hoping that Luke Daly will be available for selection again for Saturday's game. Daly strained his knee recently which is why he missed Matlock's away victory over the Tigers.
Goalkeepers Shaun Rowley and Paul Cooper are both still unavailable due to injuries.
Well, who can forget the last time these two teams played?
Back in September during this season, Matlock Town trounced Witton Albion 9-0 at The Proctor Cars Stadium in an astonishing NPL Premier Division game.
Liam Hughes scored a hat-trick, Jesun Uchegbulam scored two goals while Callum Chippendale, Reece Kendall and Al Byrne also managed to get on the score sheet. William Sutton also scored an own goal in the drubbing.
The match was watched by a crowd of 294 while the guest of honour for the game was Paralympic gold medallist Ryan Cowling. Cowling, who is from Matlock, had recently won a gold medal as part of Great Britain's wheelchair rugby team at the Tokyo Games.