Colne vs Ashton United: Red Army preview

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Colne’s new frontman Sefton Gonzales (pictured above) has been instrumental during pre-season. Photography: Andy Pritchard

As Colne Football Club’s pre-season campaign comes close to it’s conclusion, the Red Army host Northern Premier League outfit Ashton United at the Sovereign Play Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

In the Red Army’s penultimate pre-season fixture, Ashton United pose a ‘strong test’ to Steven Cunningham’s side, who look to continue their unbeaten pre-season record. And, following Tuesday’s convincing 8-1 victory over Nelson, The Reds move into Saturday’s fixture full of confidence.

In terms of players in-form, Sefton Gonzales is certainly a player that Ashton United will be looking to ‘keep quiet’ on Saturday afternoon. Colne’s new frontman has already found the net five times during pre-season, including a hat-trick during Tuesday’s emphatic rout of Nelson.

Gonzales found the net 22 times for Droylsden during the 2018/19 campaign, and he could well prove to be the ‘finished article’ that the club have been searching for in terms of securing promotion.

After joining the club, Gonzales was really ‘excited’ ahead of the upcoming campaign, and joining Colne Football Club for a second time.

In a recent interview with tomsportsjourno.com, Gonzales revealed just how ‘hungry’ he is to succeed at the club.

“I have unfinished business here, so I just can’t wait to get going again. Working under ‘Cunny’ is great, he knows how to get the most out of his players, so it’s good to be back here at Colne.”

Alongside Gonzales, all of the new additions during the summer have really impressed manager Steven Cunningham, and the selectors have been given a ‘headache’ in terms of picking a starting XI on the opening day of the season on August 17.

Aidan Chippendale has already found the net twice during pre-season, Tony Donaldson has really impressed since joining the club from Marine in the summer. Max Hazeldine has also proved be a ‘dangerous threat’ in terms of his attacking prowess, and Andrew Hollins has been a revelation since joining the club from Southport on a permanent basis.

As for the performances shown by both sides heading into Saturday’s match, Steven Cunningham’s men have scored plenty of goals, and produced several top-class defensive displays.

Colne FC – Pre-Season

1-1 vs Hyde United (A) Webb-Foster

1-2 vs Euxton Villa (A) Gonzales, Hollins

2-1 vs Chester (H) Gonzales, Donaldson

1-1 vs Padiham (H) Chippendale

1-8 vs Nelson (A) Boyle, Hughes, Gonzales (3), Hollins, Chippendale & Azam.

As for Saturday’s visitors, Jody Banim’s side have endured a ‘mixed bag’ of results against various calibers of opposition.

Ashton United – Pre-Season

0-1 vs Fleetwood Town u23’s (H)

3-0 vs Coalville Town (A)

2-2 vs Oldham Athletic (H)

4-2 vs Droylsden (H)

It’s certainly going to be a ‘tough test’ for the Red Army, but much like the win over a very strong Chester side, Steven Cunningham’s men showed character, determination and focus in their performance.

Predicted starting XI

Burton, Pugh, Makinson, Hollins, Poscha, Baker, Knox, Donaldson, Gonzales, Hazeldine, Chippendale.

In the build-up to this Saturday’s game, I kicked off Red Army TV, and Brad Knox is most certainly a player that’s relishing Saturday’s challenge and the season ahead.

Also, in the last 48 hours, the club announced some news that has really captivated the hearts of the Red Army. Ryan Haigh, the chairman and everyone involved within the club have offered fans to spread the cost of a Colne FC season ticket over nine months at just £15 per month. It’s a ‘massive’ gesture, and one that the Red Army is most thankful for.

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