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Preview: County v Alfreton

Posted: Fri 10 Aug 2012

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Stockport County open the 2012-13 season at home to Alfreton Town this weekend

County played our first competitive game against Alfreton last December, when the two sides played out a 0-0 draw. Unfortunately the return leg, when the Hatters visited Derbyshire in March, was a night to forget as the Reds ran out 6-1 winners.  

This weekend's game will be the first chance for fans to see an almost completely new-look County side.  

The Hatters' attack has been bolstered by the signings of strikers Craig Hobson from Stalybridge, Tom Collins from Hayes & Yeading and the return of Danny Rowe on a half-season loan from Fleetwood. 

Alex Kenyon, who joined from Lancaster in May, adds extra strength to the midfield. The back four has been improved with the additions of Jordan Fagbola (previously at Rochdale) and James Tunnicliffe, who came through the Hatters' youth system and was sold to Brighton in 2009.

Our opponents have been busy assembling their squad, too. This week alone Alfreton have brought in strikers Ben Tomlinson (from Macclesfield), Tom Denton and the experienced Iyseden Christie, along with midfielder Alistair Taylor, who was released by Barnsley last season. 

Talking about his preparation for the game & the new season, County boss Jim Gannon said, "I said to the boys, you know when you get into the last 5-6 games when every point becomes critical, you've got to have that mentality in day one. They all count the same at the end of the season. 

Gannon continued, "It's a home game, we'd like to win the first game of the season and set a tone for what we're about this year. There's a lot of positivity and optimism about and we'd like to build on that. But whether we win or not, we'll be aiming & stretching ourselves in every game to make sure that we're competitive & that we can win every game.

"We played Alfreton last year and it was a really tough game here, just before Christmas. They're very strong, very aggressive, very organised, very direct; they'll ask a lot of question of our back four. We've done a lot of work recently on being manly, jumping strong, going for the ball with all your might. 

"We have to match them physically, and I think they showed that physicality and mental strength in the second game when they gave us a really good hiding and we have to learn from that. They're a team we can't take for granted. They'll come here wanting to impose themselves on us, and it's up to us stand strong and make sure we repel that & give them back what we've got to offer as well."

County Player subscribers can watch Jim Gannon's pre-match preview here

Though there had been a worry over Danny Whitehead, the young forward came through training on Thursday and now Gannon has a full squad to choose from. 

Lewis King, who signed on non-contract terms this week, will likely provide goalkeeping cover on the bench. 

Live match coverage will be provided on Pure 107.8FM, which broadcasts around the borough of Stockport, and the coverage is also carried on County Player. What's more, Player subscribers will also get access to extended highlights the day after the game. Not got Player? Click here to find out more.

Match updates will also be posted on County's official Facebook page, and on Twitter - follow us @SCFCmedia!