Boxing Day has two Tameside Derbies but the one my eyes will be on is Curzon hosting Ashton United. The reverse leg of the fixture is being held on New Year’s Day, and both are really crucial games for both clubs.
This is a really good chance for Curzon to get a home win under Bradshaw. Ashton United are in free fall it seems and haven’t won a game since the 6th of November and, in that run of defeats included 6-0 hammering at the hands of sleeping giants, Stockport County.
Curzon are scoring goals, but they seriously need to tighten up their defence, having kept 3 clean sheets all season, one of which was a 0-0 draw. They have a number of young, talented players on loan from the youth sections of Premier League clubs, who they need to use the raw talent of more. They were 2:0 up against Basford in the FA trophy to lose 3:2 and 2:1 up against Southport to draw 2:2. They scored first in a defeat to Boston, need I go on?
The defensive issue is a problem. Therefore, it does need resolving if they are to avoid dropping points and, putting themselves in precarious situations about teams they are good enough to beat.
There is a slight elephant in the room that the recent managerial change may not have been popular with some of the players, having spent a long time under the old regime and, now may be suffering from a slight lack of motivation to play for the new manager.
This is speculative, of course, but all the more reason to really embrace the young players on loan and give them a chance against this opposition.