FC United manager Karl Marginson faces a left-back dilemma ahead of the Reds’ trip to midtable Hednesford on Saturday as Scott Cheetham has been unable to train all week due to a mystery illness.
Margy had hoped to draft Cheetham into the team to replace club captain Jerome Wright, who is suspended for the next five games due to being sent off twice. However, the former England Schoolboys international is unlikely to play on Saturday after suffering from swollen glands.
Margy said: "I’m going to give Scott as long as possible but he’s been unable to train all week, so it’s unlikely that he’ll be able to play. If that’s the case then we may move Liam (Brownhill) to left back and slot Dean Stott or Dave Birch in at right back."
Other than longterm injuries, everyone else is expected to be fit with Rory Fallon available after missing last week’s victory over Brackley Town due to a slight knock. Brownhill will take the captain’s armband in the absence of Wright as Margy confirmed he has appointed a new captain and vice-captain for the season. He explained: "Dean did a fantastic job last season, captaining the title winning side.
"However, I felt that his performances suffered sometimes due to the pressure of being captain. So, I had a chat with him and explained that was the reason. He was obviously disappointed, which is understandable, but I have to make those difficult decisions for the good of the club.
"I’ve given Jerome the armband for the season because of all his experience and for the amount of games he has played for the club. I think the way Stotty has been playing so far this season indicates that I made the right decision as he’s been immense in the middle of the park.
"The good thing is, we have four great leaders in Jerome, Dean, Liam and Dave Birch. We want them all to be captains to some extent. It’s important that we have lots of talkers and leaders on the pitch."
Margy explained why the club decided against appealing against either of Wright’s red cards. He said: "I spoke to the referee after the Tamworth match and asked him to look at it again and he said he would but nothing came of it. He’s interpreted the incident in a certain way and unless we can prove it’s a definite mistake or a case of mistaken identity then the decision will stand, so there’s no point in appealing."
Looking ahead to Saturday’s game, FC United have met the Pitmen seven times before in the last seven years. The Reds narrowly hold the upperhand with three wins, two draws, and two defeats. However, Margy’s side have only managed to win once at Keys Park. That victory came in March 2012 when the unlikely goalscoring duo of Adam Jones and Lee Neville put FC United into an unassailable lead after just 13 minutes. The match finished 2-1.
Nearly 14 months later, the West Midlands club got their revenge by beating the Reds by the same scoreline in the Northern Premier Division Play-Off Final in front of 4,412 supporters. Everyone at FC United will be hoping to banish memories of that day tomorrow.
Just like FC United, the Pitmen haven’t got the season off to the best of starts. One win, two draws and two defeats sees them one point better off than the Reds but they have been rocked this week by the departure of their management team of Rob Smith and Larry Chambers. The duo have somewhat surprisingly decided to take charge of the division’s bottom club, Telford United.
Hednesford Town versus FC United of Manchester is at Keys Park, Staffordshire. The match kicks off at the traditional and supporter friendly time of three o’clock and it’s pay on the gate, just as it should be. Please note - a minute’s silence will be held prior to kick off as a mark of respect to all those who lost their lives in the Shoreham air disaster last weekend. Get yourself to that football ground.