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A look at the opposition: Salford City

24 October 2023

Club News

A look at the opposition: Salford City

24 October 2023

It has not been the start to the season Salford City would have wanted, having reached the play-offs in Sky Bet League Two last term.

Inconsistency in results has been evident – with two late goals by Wrexham seeing the points snatched away from them earlier this month, before grabbing a last-gasp draw against Swindon Town at the weekend despite being down to ten men.

The Ammies embarked on a three-match winning run before the defeat to Wrexham but that came after losing five consecutive games in the league – a stretch punctuated by defeating Leeds United on penalties in the Carabao Cup.

LAST TIME OUT

Salford City 2 Swindon Town 2

Sky Bet League Two, Saturday, October 21, 2023

Line-up: Cairns, Ingram, Mariappa, Tilt, John, Watt, Bolton, Watson, Lund (Humbles 80), Garbutt (Mallan 46), Smith (Shephard 86). Subs not used: Wright, Olopade, Dackers, Pedro.

THE MANAGER

Manager Neil Wood joined the club in May 2022 and took Salford into the play-offs during his first season at the club. He arrived at the Peninsula Stadium with a strong coaching pedigree, having progressed through the Academy at Manchester United to U23 level.

A former youth player at Old Trafford, Wood spent time with Blackpool, Oldham Athletic and Coventry City as a midfielder.

THE KEY MEN

Goalkeeper – Alex Cairns

The Doncaster-born keeper signed a permanent deal with Salford in the summer after a successful loan from Fleetwood Town in the second half of last season. It brought to an end a seven-year affiliation with the Cod Army, for whom the 30-year-old made 240 appearances, including play-off campaigns. Cairns came through the ranks at Leeds United.

Defender – Adrian Mariappa

Vastly-experienced, Mariappa initially signed a short-term deal with Salford in March and earned a new one-year contract in the summer. The 37-year-old has nailed down a regular starting berth at the Peninsula Stadium. A full international for Jamaica, Mariappa has played across the top four divisions in English football with the likes of Watford, Reading and Crystal Palace in the top flight.

Midfielder – Matty Lund

The 32-year-old joined Salford in 2021 after departing Rochdale and extended his stay in the summer. He started his career at Stoke City but took off at senior level when he joined Dale following several loan moves. A move to the Championship with Burton Albion game in 2017, with spells at Bradford City and Scunthorpe United to follow before rejoining Rochdale in 2020.

Striker – Matt Smith

The towering striker joined Salford in January 2022 from Millwall and has netted 29 goals in 85 appearances for the Ammies. Smith started his journey in non-league with New Mills and Redditch United before joining Oldham Athletic. He then had time with Leeds United, Fulham, Queens Park Rangers and Millwall in the Championship.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Rovers and Salford did not meet for the first time until last season, following Rovers’ relegation to League Two. They first met on August 20, 2022 at the Eco-Power Stadium. Brandon Thomas-Asante gave City a first half lead, but two second half goals by Kyle Hurst secured a 2-1 win for Rovers.

In the return match at the Peninsula Stadium in March 2023, City won 3-1 with George Miller scoring for Rovers. Luke Bolton, with two, and Stevie Mallan notched the goals for the home side.  

TURNED OUT FOR BOTH

The talented Belfast-born midfielder Ethan Galbraith has enjoyed loan spells with both clubs while contracted to Manchester United. He joined Rovers in August 2021 and went on to make 36 senior appearances, scoring one goal. Last season, he was loaned to Salford City, making 38 appearances and scoring four goals. Before the start of the current season, he joined League One Leyton Orient on a permanent deal.  

Contributors: Gavin Hepworth and John Coyle

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