By Ethan James
After the 4-0 demolishing of Signol Old Boys, Manager Stephen Howson will be reorganising his Stretford Paddock troops for battle against High Lane this Saturday (3 pm KO).
In what has been described as a ‘must win’ clash for Paddock, both teams find themselves locked on four points in the 20/21 Rhodes Cup group stages.
Howson’s men find themselves a place higher and with a better goal difference than this weekend’s hosts, as both clubs fight to make up ground on North Walkden and Manchester Polonia in an attempt to escape Group D.
High Lane entered the group stages from AFL Lancashire and Cheshire Premier League – a division above Paddock – but found themselves having only played three matches and winless.
“I don’t know anything about them – I know that they’ve struggled in the Premier League this season but that means nothing,” said Howson, “I know everybody has got the opportunity to be difficult on any game.”
Paddock come into the fixture having claimed their first win of the group stages last weekend – a 4-0 thrashing of Signol Old Boys – with Howson’s side recording their first-ever clean sheet and now hoping to gain some momentum.
“I think the clean sheet is bigger than anything – we’ve scored four goals before, we’ve scored more than four goals before.
“The thing about playing us is that no one gives up. I think the gift of the curse of having the camera there is nobody gives up, nobody wants to be on YouTube having seven, eight, nine slots past them. So we have everyone on their best day – no one’s had a bad game against us.
“I don’t think we’ve been outplayed once – and we’ve lost games – but we’ve had chances to win those games in every instance.
“We need two games to guarantee [progression into the knockout rounds]. How do we get through? The simple thing is we win both games and there’s a weird set of circumstances for us not to progress. So, we’re almost guaranteed to go through if we win both games.
“I like the pressure of that, I think our lads might perform better when the pressure is on us a little bit.”
Due to our participation in this weekend’s social media blackout – a show of solidarity against racism and online abuse– we will not be posting our usual live-match updates on Twitter.
Full highlights of the match will be posted on our YouTube channel after the blackout.