*Horsfall Stadium - the venue for Alty tomorrow evening as they continue preparations for the upcoming season.
ED PAINTER previews the next stage in Altrincham's build-up to the start of another Vanarama National League campaign.
The Robins are on double duty once again tomorrow, with one Alty squad playing Stoke City under-23s at the Potters' Clayton Wood training ground, in a match that kicks off at 2pm behind closed doors, and another heading to Horsfall Stadium to face Bradford Park Avenue at 7.45pm.
Since losing their opening game 1-0 at West Didsbury & Chorlton, Alty have been in scintillating form, beating Ashton United, Nantwich Town and Brightlingsea Regent and scoring 10 goals without reply in the process.
In their most recent outing, Phil Parkinson’s side produced a fine performance on the Essex coast to beat the Isthmian League Premier Division side 5-0, with Dan Mooney’s early strike giving the visitors the lead at the break, before Ryan Colclough, Tom Peers, Sean Williams and Marcus Dinanga all found the back of the net in the second half.
Alty’s early dominance was rewarded after only seven minutes, with Mooney breaching the Regent defence before despatching a clinical left-foot shot into the bottom corner from about 16 yards.
The hosts responded well to going behind as Max Booth made space inside the Robins penalty area before angling a shot which looked destined for the far corner, only for Tony Thompson to produce a fine save.
Shortly after the hour mark, Colclough doubled the lead with an impressive strike from just outside the area before Peers made it 3-0 in the 83rd minute with a smart touch and finish.
Williams added a spectacular fourth in the dying minutes, with the midfielder taking aim from all of 35 yards out, leaving the keeper with no chance as the ball flashed into the bottom corner.
There was still time for one more strike, as Dinanga got the reward his performance deserved just before the final whistle, hitting the back of the net with a close range finish for his second goal in as many games.
Our Opponents: Stoke City under-23s
Founded in 1863 and located a 50-minute drive away from The J. Davidson Stadium, Stoke City have made their under-23 side available as our first opponents of the day, in a late addition to our pre-season plans.
Currently, the under-23s play their football in the Premier League Two Division Two. They also compete in the Premier League Cup and the Staffordshire Senior Cup. Stoke have proved to be more than a match for their league rivals, finishing fourth and second the previous two seasons.
Our hosts have produced a lot of top-quality talent over the years, with names like Kris Commons, Ben Foster, Karl Henry, Richard Keogh, Louis Moult, Ryan Shotton and Clive Clarke all having progressed through their Academy system.
The Manager: Stoke City under-23s
The under-23s are currently managed by Kevin Russell, who has been a member of the coaching set-up at the Bet365 Stadium since 2014 and was promoted to the position of under-23s manager ahead of the 2018/19 season.
A prolific striker in his playing days, Russell played for 11 clubs during a 20-year career. Beginning at Brighton & Hove Albion, he went on to feature for Wrexham, Leicester City, Stoke City, Burnley, AFC Bournemouth and Notts County, before retiring in 2002.
He is highly thought of at the Potters and is one of the more trusted names in the dug-out. Such is his position, the 54-year-old has previously been tasked with assisting Rory Delap with first-team duties in 2019, when the club were without a senior manager.
Last Outing: Stoke City under-23s
In their last outing, our hosts fell to a 4-2 defeat to Birmingham City as they continued their preparations for the new season. Douglas Taylor had given the Potters an early lead at Clayton Wood, but a Blues side containing several players with first-team experience took the game away from them.
Patrick Jarrett managed to pull one back after pouncing on a mistake, however the away side wrapped up the win when Soldevila netted his second of the night.
Our Opponents : Bradford (Park Avenue)
Founded in 1907 and located a one-hour drive away from The J. Davidson Stadium, Bradford (Park Avenue) are a club owned by their supporters, with the original incarnation of the club going into liquidation in 1974 before rising from the ashes 13 years later.
Currently, our hosts play their football in the National League North, a league they have been members of since winning promotion from the Northern Premier League in 2012. Since then, Park Avenue have finished as high as seventh on three occasions (2013, 2018, and 2019).
However, the last two seasons have been more of a struggle. Park Avenue sat in 22nd during the 2019/20 season, only to be reprieved when league results were made null and void after Covid took hold. The following year showed some improvement, with the club up in 15th, before the league was once again brought to a premature end.
The Manager: Bradford (Park Avenue)
Our opponents on Tuesday are managed by former Bradford City centre back Mark Bower, who has been in charge since 2016 apart from the early months of the 2019/20 season.
Beginning his playing career at Valley Parade, Bower made a total of 231 appearances, scoring 12 goals, before departing for Darlington in 2009, following loan spells with York City and Luton Town. He stayed only one season with The Quakers, playing in 13 games, before moving on to FC Halifax Town and then Guiseley.
It was during his time at Nethermoor Park that he dipped his toe into management, becoming their permanent manager in 2013. He enjoyed three seasons with the Lions but was ultimately dismissed early in the 2016/17 season after losing his opening five matches.
A month later, he took charge of Bradford PA and despite a short period away from the club between May 2019 and October 2019, he has stayed loyal to the club and will be tasked with taking them further up the NLN table.
Last Outing: Bradford (Park Avenue)
In their last outing, our hosts enjoyed an emphatic 5-2 win on the road against Brighouse Town. Avenue took the lead early before the hosts scored shortly afterwards to go into the break level. However, four second half goals, as well as one consolation effort for Brighouse, handed Bower’s side a comfortable victory.
Ticket News: Bradford (Park Avenue)
Admission prices are as follows:
£10 – Adults
£8 – Concessions
Tickets can be purchased online via https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/bradford-park-avenue-afc
Bradford (Park Avenue) will be providing a live stream of tomorrow evening’s game. Details on this service can be found via https://bpafc.com/streaming-details-altrincham/
Listen to the game Live on Radio Robins
You can listen to live commentary on Radio Robins and the broadcast starts at 7.40pm. The commentary team is Paul Salt, Niall Finnegan and Niall Flynn
You can listen to Radio Robins in any of the following ways:
1) By visiting our Match Centre on the club website
2) Download and install the Mixlr app on Android devices from the Google Play Store - start the app and search for 'Radio Robins'.
3) Download and install the Mixlr app on Apple devices from the Apple Store - start the app and search for 'Radio Robins'.