Swindon Town striker Harry McKirdy says he’s looking to emulate last season’s goal tally this time around, and believes fellow team mate Jonny Williams will play an integral part in him eclipsing his figure from last term.
Speaking to the media as part of our pre-match press conference yesterday, the 25-year-old, who has notched 19 league goals in his 35 competitive appearances for Town, says he also understands fans frustrations last weekend, but they’ll be looking to turn things around tomorrow afternoon.
“As a striker, it goes without saying I want to score goals. We had a fantastic team last season and it was great to net as many as I did, but we have a different group now with a lot of new faces and we’re building strong relationships which takes time.
“For me, I want to continue effecting games while entertaining too. I want to score and setup goals for my team mates, so it made it even more frustrating last weekend when I didn’t really get many chances, but they’ll come.
“I’m always confident in my ability and we have a lot of players in this team that create. I built a really strong connection with Jonny last season, so it’s important he gets on the ball, and I back myself to take my chances.”
The talented ace has also called for patience from the Town faithful as he and his team mates continue to gel.
“A lot of new players have come in during the off-season and it does take a bit of time to get used to how each other play and form those partnerships.
“We want fans to come to The County Ground and continue to make lots of noise, but we also know we need to perform on the pitch to get that backing, which is a real focus for us.
“I understand it’s not easy for fans after a good second half of the season last time round, a few key players leaving and then the disappointments of the Harrogate game, but if they can be patient with us it will really help.
“We’re only one game into the new season and there’s a long way to go. We only got four points from our first three games at the beginning of last season, and we can still match and better that, so I hope the fans enjoy a good performance from us tomorrow.”
Salford City preview…
The club was founded back in 1940 as Salford Central Mission, later changing their name after seven years while playing minor local league football until they claimed a place in the Manchester League in 1963.
The club won the Lancashire Amateur Cup in 1971, 1973 and 1975, and claimed the Manchester Premier Cup on two occasions in 1978 and 1979.
In 1980 they entered the Cheshire County League, which was later amalgamated into the North West Counties Football League in 1982.
In 1989, the club changed their name again to their current title, and secured promotion into the Northern Premier League in 2008. They survived on the final day of that season, still referred to now by Ammies fans as The Great Escape.
In 2014, Salford hit the headlines as former Manchester United players Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and the Neville brothers took over, each purchasing 10% of the club, alongside Singaporean businessman Peter Lim. David Beckham then purchased a stake from him in 2019.
In 2015, the club were crowned NPL National League North champions, won the NPL Premier Division play-offs the following year and claimed the National League North title in 2018.
In 2019, their rise continued with promotion to the English Football league under boss Graham Alexander, and won the EFL Trophy in their debut campaign.
The Ammies ply their trade at The Peninsula Stadium, more commonly known as Moor Lane.
The ground, built in 1978, is situated in the Kersal area of Salford and holds 5,106 fans, with 2,246 seated.
How they faired last season…
Salford finished a respectable tenth place in League Two last term, just seven points off the play-off places, courtesy of 19 wins and 13 draws.
An impressive 60 goal haul also contributed to their finish under the tutorage of Gary Bowyer, despite starting the campaign winless after their opening four matches.
Their highest league win of the last campaign came back in March, as they beat Scunthorpe United 5-1 at home, thanks to a Brandon Thomas-Asante hat-trick, and further goals from Mathieu Smith and Stephen Kelly.
What happened last time we met…
Today will be just the third competitive meeting between the two sides with two being won by Town, although the visitors emerged winners in the most recent outing.
A Ryan Watson strike completed a late 2-1 comeback at The County Ground in February after Harry McKirdy had netted the opener on 55-minutes, assisted by the on-loan Joe Tomlinson.
Neil Wood is in his first season of management in the football league, having departed Manchester United after eight years coaching in their academy, taking over back in May.
The 39-year-old began his career in the United youth ranks, but several injuries meant he left his boyhood club without making an appearance.
Despite going on to join several other English sides such as Coventry City, Blackpool and Oldham Athletic, and a spell playing in Bosnia, Wood was unable to shake off those injury woes and made just 61 appearances across his career.
After hanging up his boots, Wood returned to his hometown of Manchester, and in 2014 began working for the Manchester United academy, progressing his way from the Under 15s to their Under 23s side.
Back in May this year, he took the Salford reins from Gary Bowyer, who had departed just a few days earlier.
Their summer business…
Salford have been pretty productive during the off-season with some good business done to bolster the ranks.
The standout signings include Callum Hendry from Scottish side St. Johnstone, who took just five minutes to net his first league goal for the club last weekend in the win over Mansfield Town.
Elliott Watt has come in from Bradford City, while Stevie Mallan has returned to the UK after a spell playing in Turkey with Yeni Malatyaspor.
Former Burnley youngster Richard Nartey has gone to Moor Lane, while Ryan Leak (Burton Albion) and Elliot Simoes (AS Nancy) complete the set.
The only notable departure is that of former Manchester United defender Donald Love, whose gone to Morecambe after making 25 appearances for The Ammies last season.