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Can Salford City’s home form be enough to overcome Plymouth Argyle

The Football Manc Cave is giving you a glimpse into what should be an interesting and exciting game this week, Salford City vs Plymouth.

This league is a new challenge for both teams with Salford only being promoted at the end of last season. Alongside that Plymouth being relegated into this league and then having to adapt to a new manager, Ryan Lowe, and a lot of players from Bury who followed in the manager’s footsteps. This should make it an exciting game with a lot of action. Straight off the bat, Plymouth would be favourites, although anything can happen.

Salford’s Form

Salford 2-0 Stevenage

Crawley 2-0 Salford

Salford 1-1 Port Vale

Plymouth Argyle’s Form:

Crewe 0-3 Plymouth

Plymouth 1-0 Colchester

Newport County 1-0 Plymouth

Salford’s home form is obviously a lot better than their away form so far however, that is to be expected from most clubs. Hopefully, their home crowd can get behind them and they can deliver.

Squad News:

Chris Neal has been playing brilliantly for Salford and he’ll have guaranteed his place in the squad. Carl Piergianni received the man of the match for his efforts last weekend. Adam Rooney will no doubt be leading his team out. Richie Towell is the one to look out for and his form will guarantee him a place in the squad too. Mani Dieseruvwe is another player who’s already scored two goals this season and will be looking to add to that tally. Jake Beesley got his first EFL goal last weekend and made the equaliser so he’s another who Graham Alexander will probably be considering giving another chance.

Prediction:

Unfortunately, I do think Salford will lose as Plymouth are looking the stronger side. I do think that with the home crowd, Salford will be able to find the back of the net at least once though.

Do Salford City need to do anything in the remaining transfer window weeks

With only a couple of weeks left in the transfer window for leave one and two, The Football Manc Cave is looking at what Salford City can do.

If they manage to make any more signings in these next two weeks then it can only be a bonus to the squad. In my opinion, after seeing them twice in pre-season, I don’t think any new signings in any area is a priority. They’ve signed some great players who just need a little more work.

At the end of the day, Salford only got promoted at the end of last season and there were naturally average expectations for their standard of football in a new league. They had some tough pre-season games like Middlesbrough and Woking which saw some newbies like Richie Towell and Oscar Threlkeld in action.

They’ve done pretty well in League Two so far and they’ve found players that have helped them reach the standards required in this new league. They won their opening league fixture at home against Stevenage and managed a draw recently against Port Vale, 1-1. Considering they’re new to League Two, this is a good start.

Fitting the jigsaw pieces

It’s not new signings that they need to be looking at, they just need to find places for their new signings and see which position best suits their players. Ritchie Towell was amazing in pre-season. He creates chances, finds the back of the net sometimes and fights for every ball. From what I saw in the friendly games, it seems Salford can create chances very well, they just struggle to pass in the box from time to time, this can be because of greed a lot of the time.

When they are on top form, they play brilliantly and the chances they create usually end up in the back of the net. The squad just need to keep in the back of their mind that they have moved up a league and they don’t want to end up going back down.

‘Salford City lost a game. It’s hardly time for panic stations’

Crawley Town handed Salford City their first-ever EFL defeat, as they won 2-0 at The People’s Pension Stadium.

This will have come as a shock to some, but is it really? It’s the start of the season, nobody is fully up to speed and it’s League Two football, after all, everyone beats each other.

Salford were the pre-season bookie’s favourites to win the league, despite it being their first ever seen in the EFL. That’s not Salford’s fault. They don’t make up the odds.

Having the Class of 92 involved brings an enormous amount of outside pressure and expectation from the media and neutral fans. However, let’s remember they have League Two players who’ve probably not dealt with that weight of expectation ever in their careers.

I saw suggestions this will be a wake up call and culture shock, nonsense. Graham Alexander knows League Two as well as any other manager. He’ll know they’re in for a long, tough scrappy season. They lost a game. Hardly time for panic stations.

People talk as if Salford have just luckily found themselves in League Two, and are trying to win it with players with no experience, who have suddenly been shocked by the toughness of the league. Way off the mark. Salford has the squad to fight and scrap for points while having that balance of quality too.

They’re a good side that has earned the right to be in League Two, along with the other 23 teams. At the moment, everyone is watching and talking about their results. Wait until 10 games in, the hype train will die down and Salford can get to work.

These two players need to start for Salford City on Saturday

Salford City travel to Crawley Town on Saturday for their first-ever League Two away match.

The Ammies, under the leadership of Graham Alexander, won their opening day match 2-0 against Stevenage. An impressive performance in a match they dominated from minute one. That will have settled any pre-season nerves that the staff, players and fans had. They are more than good enough to compete at this level.

So, one down, 45 to go…it’s a long old season. Let’s take a look at two players that must start on Saturday for Salford…

Emmanuel Dieseruvwe

The man that scored Salford’s first-ever EFL goal, and their second. Dieseruvwe is still only 24 but has played at a lot of clubs, without really settling down at one. Even for Salford, he hasn’t featured a lot in his two-year spell. Maybe this year is the one when everything clicks into gear. The striker looked a real handful vs Stevenage, although the goals weren’t brilliant, he was there to put them away.

This is his chance to carry on that form, be a hero and make Salford your home. A confident striker is a dangerous striker, he’ll be raring to go on Saturday.

Richie Towell

This was The Ammies best signing of the summer, in my opinion. A midfielder that should dictate many games this season. Towell was very good for Rotherham in both the Championship and League One. Still only 27, he could easily still mix at those levels.

Salford has found a gem, build your team around him, give him the ball as much as possible. Fair play to Alexander, finding a midfielder of that quality to play in League Two must take some pulling power, you’ve done the hard work, now just sit and enjoy the results.

Salford City’s strong start shows they’re not here to make up numbers

Salford City got off to a great start in League Two as they managed to beat Stevenage 2-0 at home.

I got to see Salford’s pre-season games and it’s safe to say that fans didn’t get to see the best out of their team. There was some good football and stand out players, however a lot of losses, this made people wonder how they would perform in the league. This game was also going to be on Sky so the added pressure was something that people thought might throw them off. They surprised in their first home game of the season after being the stronger side and managing to bag a win.

First Half

The Ammies didn’t only get off to a great start in the league but a strong start in this game too. A couple of minutes in, they managed to win a corner. Newbie Ritchie Towell stuck out as he went in for every challenge and tried to put the pressure on.

Stevenage also tried to apply the pressure but Salford’s defence was just too tight for them. It only took 17 minutes for Salford’s Rooney to hit the bar. It was at this point when they became the favourites as chance after chance meant a goal would soon come.

26 minutes in, Stevenage did manage to get the ball in the back of the net only for it to be ruled offside and Salford to respond in the best way. After a series of passes and the Ammies trying to show they meant business, Wiseman brilliantly controlled the ball and hit a long pass which managed to reach Mani Dierseruvwe and he scored Salford’s first-ever league goal.

At the 32 minute mark, Dierseruvwe nearly put Salford 2-0 up after another great bit of play from Towell. Salford managed to keep their lead until half time. At this point, the second half could have gone one of two ways. Either Salford would have come back out feeling inspired after the first half or Stevenage would have been told to work harder and Salford could have slipped in standards.

Second Half

Coming out and showing they wanted the win, Salford clearly had a half time team talk that made them motivated to win even more. Just after the whistle went, Wiseman nearly assisted Salford’s second as he crossed it into the box and it just missed Towell and Dierseruvwe.

It was only the second minute of the second half when Mani Dierseruvwe finally got rewarded for his efforts and put the Ammies 2-0 up. This came from a clever free-kick headed down by Piergianni which couldn’t be blocked by the Stevenage players in the box and Mani Dierseruvwe bagged his second.

55 minutes in and nearly a third for Mani again after Towell managed to push forward and find the striker, only for his shot to be put wide. Salford kept on this same pressure until the end of the game.

In the 77th minute, Richie Towell’s time was up as he was subbed. Even though he created most of the Ammies chances and looked really promising for the rest of the season, he had managed to get a yellow card in the first half so taking him off was probably sensible as he does go on for every ball.

Ten minutes later and Mani Dierseruvwe was also taken off. He only had two minutes of normal time to get a hat trick but was still taken off. This may have been just to waste time. Oscar Threlkeld made his debut for the club when he replaced the goal scorer.

The Ammies managed to win 2-0 after five minutes of injury time. It was a great performance for them and fans were left feeling very happy and excited for the rest of the season. I am also glad that Oscar Threlkeld and Ritchie Towell got to make appearances as I wrote an article this week on why the pair should be given a chance in Salford’s first game of the season. The very promising performance has set high standards not only for Salford but for all League two teams.

The final touches: What Gannon should be getting right in Stockport County’s training this week

With a big season ahead, Stockport County has a lot of work to do in order to survive in their new division.

Last season, Stockport County won the National League North and secured promotion to the National League.

Jim Gannon has breathed life into County since his third appointment at the club in 2016. Going into the National League, his side must prepare for an intense season.

Although it is unlikely for Stockport to follow suit of their neighbours Salford City with a double-promotion, Gannon’s men could still go far in their new division.

Where does Stockport go from here?

In order to survive their new competition, Stockport must fully establish a method of play. The team need to gel fully, understand each other and have the same vision for the club. Therefore, training sessions should focus on tactics and strategies, whilst keeping the fitness of the team very high.

By establishing a method that has been solidified in the squad, they can continue to build towards projections, which should be to find themselves in the EFL League Two.

If Jim Gannon can continue to get the players on his wavelength, his side can survive the National League next season. Upon that, they can acquire the correct signings who will find it easy to integrate with a squad who all know exactly how the gaffer wants them to play.

Stockport County has lost their main goal scorer Matt Warburton, meaning that Gannon needs to find alternative methods for scoring goals. Their ability to hit the back of the net, whilst remaining fairly solid at the back, is what clinched the side promotion.

Gannon should remain at the club for the foreseeable future. He is the right man to lay the foundations to build on, being closely tied to the club. By following a set structure of projections, Stockport County could easily be contenders for promotion over the next few seasons.

The final touches: What Graham Alexander should be getting right in Salford City training this week, agree?

Salford City’s biggest ever season is just around the corner. And here is what we hope Graham Alexander is doing in training.

Salford City was promoted to the National League at the end of 2018. One season later, they were promoted to the EFL League Two, the highest tier of football the club has found themselves in since their formation in 1940.

Alexander has lost his last two games of pre-season. Suffering a 3-1 defeat to Woking and a 3-1 defeat to Middlesbrough. Despite being friendlies, there is cause for concern for Salford City.

Defence

They have shown weaknesses in defence, particularly when defending set-pieces. Therefore, defensive strategies against the dead ball need to be drilled into the side going into their new season and throughout. This will prevent the majorities of goals that Salford concede.

Attack

New signing Richie Towell has been a stand-out player for Salford City in pre-season. Against Woking, I had the pleasure of seeing the link-up between himself and Danny Lloyd, where the two confidently turned midfield possession into a quick attack.

This fairly new partnership needs to develop quickly. There have been glimpses of the service they can off the Salford attack, but rigorous training and a set method of attack can give the lads a routine to follow and perfect.

Fitness

Alexander cannot expect the same run of success as recent years as they step into their biggest challenge yet. His team need to be ready for a high-intensity season, with 46 league games and a potential cup run, or two.

Salford needs fitness and depth in order to cope with the demands of the EFL. If the squad can remain fit, work on aerial dominance in defence, and find a suitable style for Lloyd and Towell to run the game, we could see Salford City soar high in League Two next season.

Are ‘Vulture’s’ Norwich City right to take advantage of Bolton Wanderers’ crisis?

Bolton youngster, Dennis Politic may be about to become the clubs next departure according to Alan Nixon.

The journalist tweeted how Norwich City are going to exploit the troubles at Bolton by signing the 19-year old for free.

The Romanian player is a product of Bolton’s youth. He’s been a part of their Under 18’s squad and Under 23’s. The midfielder went on loan to Salford City last season and impressed, as he scored twice in eleven games. Unfortunately, a shoulder injury prevented him from being a part of the Ammies play off final and promotion at Wembley.

Politic hasn’t yet been a part of Bolton’s senior squad. However, my guess is that this season he would have been a part of the first team, now that he’s had experience somewhere else. Now it looks like he could depart the club and it wouldn’t surprise me if he did. At least if he left Bolton, he’d be going to a club that would definitely be able to offer him football and his wages.

Bolton upset

The part of the rumour that is causing most upset is the fact that the 19-year-old could go for free. Some Bolton fans have accused Norwich of being ‘vultures’ in trying to pray on such a vulnerable and troubled club.

However, fans have been divided on the subject. As most haven’t realised that Bolton Wanderers still owe Norwich City for the transfers of Yanic Wildschut and Remi Matthews. Norwich fans have already worked out that them getting the player for free will come as payment for the debt Bolton are in with them.

As much as I think the youngster would have been a key part to the team next season. If Bolton can sort out their problems, this negotiation with Norwich may settle a debt that we still can’t afford. It’s not the answer and there’s still a lot of work to do, but at least the Canaries can move on from being back and forth with the Trotters over money.

As for Politic, this will be a good move for him. He deserves a chance at another club as the winger has worked hard to prove himself. Going to Salford was a big move for him, even if it was just a loan spell. He got the chance to play football for the club, which he didn’t get a chance to do with Bolton’s senior squad. It’s just a shame that it has had to come to this for Bolton if the rumours are true.

Salford City can take positives away from defeat

After going to watch Salford City take on Woking on Friday night. I had to return to see them face Championship side, Middlesbrough last night.

Friday night’s match didn’t look like it would go ahead as the rain kept coming down, however, after the weather calmed down, it did go ahead. Unfortunately, Salford lost 3-1. This game was completely opposite in terms of the weather as the heat meant the teams had to take water breaks. Salford also got a chance to show off their new white kit as opposed to their usual home colour, red. There was also a lot more fans at this game as they anticipated the opposition, Championship club, Boro’.

As we know, friendlies are used to give as many players as possible the chance to warm up before the season starts and this was no different. One of the biggest changes came in keepers as Kyle Letheren started the game.

First Half

Middlesbrough opened up the game with a series of chances and they looked impressive, they just couldn’t find the back of the net.

At the 10 minute mark, Richie Towell stood out for me again as he created Salford’s first chance of the game. It, unfortunately, went a couple of yards in front of Mani Dieseruvwe which put it out of his reach.

20 minutes in and a Mark Shelton corner found Liam Hogan who managed to head the ball into the middle, and find Louis Maynard who headed it home. Salford was 1-0 ahead and fans were happy with their team’s performance so far.

The Ammies didn’t give much away as they deserved to be on top. New keeper, Kyle Letheren was given a chance to shine in the 23rd minute. Middlesbrough player, Ashley Fletcher, received the ball at the top of the area and was denied by a fantastic first save from Letheren. He blocked another shot immediately from Assombalonga, even though he was offside. This also resulted in Salford fans singing, “Championship, you’re havin’ a laugh,” which probably came too soon.

The drinks break was exactly what Boro’ needed as a few minutes later, as they won a free-kick. It was taken quickly, a cross from Marvin Johnson came in from the right, and Assombalonga’s header found the back of the net with a header.

With two minutes to half time, they created a chance as their equaliser inspired them to push for another. After a big push forward, in the 45th minute, the Ammies thought they’d taken the Championship club to the halfway point at a draw. Unfortunately, Britt Assombalonga’s powerful volley found the back of the net again. It was a fantastic goal that even the Salford fans clapped along with.

Second Half

Going into the second half, Graham Alexander made a couple of changes. Mark Shelton and Kyle Letheren’s chances were up as they were replaced by Joey Jones and Chris Neal.

It took a while for the half to get going with the subs and both teams were head to head.

This didn’t throw Boro’ off their game as the 66th minute came around, and another brilliant goal from Britt Assombalonga completed his hat trick. This 3rd goal caused the Ammies to shake up their side again as fans were becoming frustrated.

The starting eleven that were struggling to pass before were now replaced, with a team of players who were creating great passes and skill, Threlkeld especially for me. The 89th minute saw Salford push for a second goal with Rooney on the ball, he went straight for goal instead of passing, even though Tom Walker was stood in a perfect position, unmarked and screaming for the ball. Walker ended up punching the ground in frustration as the fans were screaming.

There were a few scrambled chances before the final whistle, however, Salford ended up losing 3-1 again.

Salford looked a lot stronger and you have to credit their efforts seeings as they were playing a Championship club. They’ll need to tighten up their defence and passing ability before the start of the season. Some positives, however, Ritchie Towell looks really promising. He scored against Woking and tried to win every ball in this game too. He’ll be one to watch.

Three players that have to start tonight for Salford City against Middlesbrough

Salford City will face Championship side Middlesbrough in their toughest game of pre-season.

It is likely that a strong side will be playing against Middlesbrough tonight, as Salford have rotated heavily in previous pre-season games.

Salford’s biggest season as a football club is around the corner. It is important for Alexander to nail down his tactics within the squad and iron out any issues. Against Woking, Salford struggled tremendously defending set-pieces but looked brutal on the counter-attack and around the box. It is clear that Salford is great on the attack, but need work done in the defence in order to cope in League Two.

Their last match was at home, against Woking. Salford City suffered a 3-1 defeat despite looking the better outfit throughout the game.

Three players, in particular, stood out for Salford City and should feature against Middlebrough as manager Graham Alexander looks to settle on his best eleven…

Richie Towell

In the game against Woking, new signing Richie Towell ran the centre of midfield and was the stand-out player all game. He even bagged Salford’s only goal with a brilliant strike. His high work rate and quality will be important the Salford City this season and is likely to play against Middlesbrough.

Emmanuel Dieseruvwe

In Salford’s 3-1 defeat to Woking, their forwards faced two towering defenders. The height difference made it very difficult for the Ammies to challenge in the box. Dieseruvwe himself stands at 6ft 4 and was much more of a threat against Woking’s big defence.

Danny Lloyd

Lloyd’s low centre of gravity and fantastic close control makes him a fantastic attacking-midfielder for Salford City. The number 10 is constantly finding pockets of space and relaying the ball to his teammates. He is crucial to the way Salford attack. In a game against Middlesbrough, Lloyd can truly test himself against a Championship side.

Salford’s biggest season as a football club is around the corner. It is important for Alexander to nail down his tactics within the squad and iron out any issues. Against Woking, Salford struggled tremendously defending set-pieces but looked brutal on the counter-attack and around the box. It is clear that Salford is great on the attack, but need work done in the defence in order to cope in League Two.

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