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Returning Reds ready to boost promotion push

Last season’s top-scorer Stuart Rudd will be hoping to add to his recent tally of two goals in two substitute appearances at Harrogate on Saturday as he is likely to be on the bench again and manager Karl Marginson had some unexpected good news about an old FC United favourite.

North West Counties League Cup final hero Josh Howard should also play some part in the match as he continues his journey back to full fitness after coming through unscathed in the 2-0 friendly victory over Flixton in midweek with Rudd and club captain David Chadwick.

Chadwick, meanwhile, will hope to get a run out with the reserves at the Abbey Stadium against Grappenhall Sports. That means that 21-year-old Adam Turner is set to continue alongside Rob Nugent at the heart of United’s defence.

Manager Karl Marginson has been thoroughly impressed by the youngster and has no problem sticking with him until Chaddy is fully fit. He said: “Adam’s done great, fantastic in fact. He’s raw and it’s important that he continues his development but he’s as honest as they come and Tony Cullen and Loz Greenhalgh have given him a good grounding in the Reserves and he’s stepped up. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by his performances.”

After coming through a sticky patch and with important, experienced players returning to the fold, Margy is confident that his side can really kick on now and push for promotion it what has been an extremely unpredictable league with many of the top teams suffering surprised defeats against lower opposition.

Margy said: “The team that wins this league could end up with around nine defeats this season, which is completely unheard of. Whatever the case though, we’ve got our backbone coming back now and if we get that winning mentality and habit back we’ll get that belief and people will start realising that FC United are a threat.”

The only major doubt for the Harrogate match is Chris Baguley due to a knee injury but Margy was delighted to hear that despite the original fears, long-term casualty Steve Spencer may be back in a red shirt at some point. He said: “Spenner may be able to get some games before the end of the season after getting some good news on a scan today, but that’s all I can say for now.”

01-02-2008 at 21:15

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UniBond League - 1st Div North
1 Skelmersdale United 25 31 51
2 Curzon Ashton 26 26 51
3 Bamber Bridge 24 14 46
4 Bradford PA 22 26 45
5 Ossett Albion 27 10 45
6 FC United 22 21 41