Match Preview: Shots v Salford

Aldershot Town v Salford City Match Preview – Saturday 16th March 2019

A spirited midweek display against National League leaders Leyton Orient ultimately ended in a narrow (1-2) defeat for Aldershot Town. Two – almost identical – headed goals in two minutes from Centre Back Josh Coulson gave The O’s a 2-0 lead at the break. Scott Rendell marked his return from suspension with a second half penalty and only a stunning late save by Dean Brill denied Reece Grant what would have been a deserved leveller. The Shots are once again at The EBB Stadium on Saturday, hosting fifth placed Salford City. BBC Surrey’s Rob Worrall previews the game…

Shots Squad:
With just nine National League games left now, Shots persistent injury issues are finally easing and other than George Fowler and Lewis Kinsella, manager Gary Waddock should have the rest of his playing squad available to him, although James Rowe (back in training, but not match fit) is unlikely to come into consideration.

Name: Salford City FC
Founded: 1940 (as Salford Central)
Nickname: The Ammies
Manager: Graham Alexander
Stadium: Moor Lane
Final position last season: Champions – National League North
Current National League position: 5th

Potted History:
Salford City were formed in 1940 under the name of ‘Salford Central.’ In 1963, they changed their name to ‘Salford Amateurs’ having moved up to the Manchester League and enjoyed success in cup competitions throughout the 1970’s. In 2008 they were promoted to the Northern Premier Division One North and in 2014 five former Manchester United players, aka the ‘Class of 92’ (Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes Gary Neville and Phil Neville) completed their takeover of the club along with Peter Lim, who has a 50% stake. With their investment, they earned back-to-back-to-back promotions under joint-managers Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson. David Beckham, another member of the ‘Class of 92’ has also recently bought shares in the club.

The Gaffer:
Graham Alexander was appointed Salford’s City manager on May 14th 2018. Alexander started in management as Assistant Caretaker Coach at Preston North End before taking the reins at Fleetwood Town in December 2012. He guided them to promotion from League Two in 2013/14 via the play-offs. Appointed Scunthorpe United manager in 2016, he took them to the League One Play-Offs before departing in March 2018.

Key players:
Although newcomers to this level, Salford were promoted with a plethora of talent among their ranks and added significantly to it during the summer, most notably in attack. Adam Rooney (18 goals after joining from Scottish Premier Division side Aberdeen), Rory Gaffney (13 goals since signing from Bristol Rovers) and former Peterborough United winger Danny Lloyd all joined. Defender Nathan Pond left Fleetwood Town after 12-years at Highbury to bolster an already talented backline. Liam Hogan was the Ammies title-winning skipper last term having joined from Gateshead. Midfielder Danny Whitehead was another key signing, having won the National League title with Macclesfield last season. Centre Back Carl Piergianni has been a rock at the back for The Ammies and has also weighed in with a staggering 8 goals, a real threat from set pieces. Highly ambitious Salford have made further signings during the season, most notably, Striker Matt Green (four goals since signing on a 2.5-year deal from Lincoln City) as they seek promotion to the English Football League at the first attempt.

Saturday’s referee is Sam Purkiss. He has refereed 13 National League matches this season, showing 32 yellow cards and no red cards to date. He has not taken charge of any Shots (or Ammies) matches to date this season.

There will be live BBC Surrey Sport commentary of Saturday’s game, with Rob Worrall and injured Aldershot Town left back Lewis Kinsella, from 2:50pm. To interact with the commentary team, tweet @RobShot66.