Greater Manchester Football Wrap (Feb 10-12): Rochdale, Salford City, Wigan Athletic, Stockport County, Bolton Wanderers, Altrincham

By: Joe Brayne, Callum Sutherland, Jacob Findell, Isaac Stronge, Matthew Holmes and Steven Narloch

Wigan Athletic

Wigan fans will be treated to a double-header this week as they face Bristol City on Wednesday and Norwich City on Saturday, February 18.

Despite a much-needed victory last weekend against fellow strugglers Huddersfield Town, the Latics are still sitting in the bottom three.

The upcoming trip to the south-west will be no easy task. Bristol City are unbeaten in six games and only six Championship sides have netted more goals than the Robins this season.

Optimism however may be higher for Saturday when Norwich City visit the DW Stadium. The Canaries have lost three out of six league games in 2023. 

Shaun Maloney stated that his sideโ€™s latest win gave the team belief and confidence, something they will once again need to maintain their Championship status for another year.

Rochdale AFC

Rochdale will need to make the most of home advantage as they take on fellow strugglers Gillingham at the Crown Oil Arena, in a match that could determine both teamsโ€™ fates.

Dale come into the game on the back of a 2-1 midweek defeat against league-leaders Leyton Orient, after a last-minute equaliser denied them all three points at the weekend against Northampton.

Gillingham, on the other hand, are one of the in-form teams in League Two, their 2-1 victory last night moving them out of the relegation zone and stretching their recent record to five games unbeaten in the last six.

After a series of matches pitting the leagueโ€™s bottom club against several promotion hopefuls, Rochdale will need to turn decent performances into valuable points, starting on Saturday.

Bolton Wanderers

Bolton travel to the Adams Park Stadium on Saturday in a pivotal play-off clash against a resurgent Wycombe.

Back-to-back 5-0 whitewashes for the mighty Wanderers has seen the side rocket to third place in League One. Bolton remain six points behind Sheffield Wednesday’s automatic promotion spot but a five-match winning streak continues to build pressure.

While Dion Charles’ hat-trick underlined a sensational individual display in Bolton’s victory over Peterborough United, Trotters’ manager Ian Evatt will have been pleased to see all five goals against MK Dons spread across the team. Wycombe have lost just once in their past five matches, a bitterly fought 1-0 loss to high-flyers Sheffield Wednesday. The Chairboys’ Albanian attacking midfielder, Anis Mehmeti, is the host’s threat to watch this weekendย  – having netted nine times over twenty-six appearances.

Stockport County

A return to form for Stockport County has seen them collect three wins in their last three games, the latter two without club captain and talisman, Paddy Madden.

There is no word yet on whether the Irishman will return to action this Saturday, when the Hatters welcome Stevenage to Edgeley Park.

County remain at the bottom of the play-off places, on goal-difference alone, with a slender three points separating fifth-placed Mansfield and ninth-placed Doncaster.

Stevenage, despite shaky recent form, arrive still sitting comfortably in second place, meaning the match may well turn out to be a crucial fixture in both teams promotion hopes.

Salford City

It has been a tough week for the Ammies, with two games resulting in just a solitary point.

Considering the strength of the two teams they faced, Tranmere and Harrogate, Neil Wood will have expected much more from his side. The former sit squarely in midtable whilst the latter are just two points above the drop, yet Salford were unable to capitalise, losing 1-0 to Tranmere and drawing 1-1 with Harrogate.

In truth, Salford have looked broadly unimpressive in the last month but until this week they were generally able to grind out results. Such a knack is crucial to success in such a competitive promotion field, but this week proves it can only carry a team so far. They must kick on again and soon or they risk losing touch with the play-off positions.

The next three games for the Ammies see them facing three teams in and around the play-off positions, and whilst Neil Wood will certainly have hoped to have more points on the board before this tough run, he will now be hoping for a big result against Swindon next weekend to help galvanize the squad heading into the run-in.

Altrincham FC

Although going well in the FA Trophy, Altrincham are slowly creeping towards the bottom four. With the Robins currently on a slump of four league defeats, things donโ€™t get easier this weekend as they welcome high-flying Woking.

Following their comfortable win away at Bracknell Town last weekend in the cup, Altrincham then slipped to a fourth consecutive league loss against Bromley on Tuesday night.

They are coming up against a team pushing for promotion in Woking but who are not in the best form themselves with only two league wins in their last six matches.

Tyrese Sinclair impressed on Tuesday night and will likely be out after hobbling off in the week. The attacker on loan from Rochdale has only been at Altrincham for a short while but he took his goal nicely against Bromley.

In the match earlier on in the season at Kingfield Stadium that finished 1-1, Woking equalised in the 91st minute after Elliot Newby, now at Barrow, put Altrincham ahead.

A win for Altrincham would put some breathing room between them and the relegation places which are slowly coming into view.

The match will be played at 3pm this Saturday at the J Davidson Stadium.

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