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Match Preview: Stockport County vs Swindon Town

The build up for Town's trip to the league leaders this Saturday

24 February 2024

Club News

Match Preview: Stockport County vs Swindon Town

The build up for Town's trip to the league leaders this Saturday

24 February 2024

Town take the trip to top of the table Stockport County this Saturday, with a kick off time of 3pm at Edgeley Park this weekend.

Town will be hoping to react with a positive performance away at Stockport, following a frustrating 2-1 home defeat to promotion-hopefuls MK Dons last time out.

Looking at Stockport in a bit more detail, they currently sit in the top spot with 62 points but have had a mixed run of results recently that will leave Swindon looking to pounce and react to their recently improved performances overall.

A lowdown on the visitors

Established in 1883 as Heaton Norris Rovers, the football club underwent a name change to Stockport County in 1890, aligning with the town's County Borough status. Their journey into the Football League began in 1900 after clinching the Lancashire League title. Despite initial struggles, including a brief stint in the Lancashire Combination, they secured a lasting place in the League.

The club's home base shifted to Edgeley Park in 1902, marking a significant development from their earlier ground behind the Nursery Inn. A nod to the thriving hatmaking industry in the region earned them the nickname 'The Hatters' by 1900.

While donning various kit colours initially, the club settled on white shirts and black shorts in the 1930s until the mid-1960s. In 1965, a return to the iconic royal blue strip became a symbol of change under chairman Vic Bernard's leadership.

Despite a prolonged period in the Fourth Division, the 1990s witnessed a transformation under Uruguayan manager Danny Bergara, leading to promotion in 1991. However, subsequent Wembley visits ended in disappointment.

Dave Jones' tenure brought memorable moments in the late 1990s, including a League Cup semi-final appearance in 1996/97. Post-Jones, the club faced challenges, slipping to the bottom division by 2005.

Manager Jim Gannon's arrival in 2006 sparked a remarkable turnaround, narrowly avoiding relegation. A promotion push in 2006/07 fell short, but success finally arrived in 2007/08 with a Wembley victory.

Financial struggles led to administration in 2009, resulting in relegation. Rescued from administration in 2010, the club endured further relegation, marking their first stint outside the Football League since 1905.

In 2011, a consortium, led by Tony Evans, aimed for revival, but managerial changes ensued. By 2015, Alan Lord stabilized the team in the Conference North. Neil Young's appointment in 2015 set the stage for success, including a National League North title in 2019.

A significant takeover by Mark Stott in 2020 heralded ambitious plans, with Simon Rusk taking over as manager. Dave Challinor's appointment in November 2021 led to an outstanding run, securing the National League title in 2022 and marking their return to the Football League after an eleven-year hiatus.


Memorable Match:

Despite the result being a 0-0 draw, Swindon picked up the Second Division Championship trophy in front of a crowd of nearly 14,700 expectant Town fans who saw the two teams play out the goalless draw at the back of the 1995/96 season.

Although the result from the match wasn't exciting, Town were left with plenty to cheer about following the fixture almost 30 years ago.




23/24: Swindon Town 2-4 Stockport County

22/23: Swindon Town 0-1 Stockport County

22/23: Stockport County 1-1 Swindon Town

09/10: Swindon Town 4-1 Stockport County

09/10: Stockport County 0-1 Swindon Town

The manager: Dave Challinor

In November 2021, Dave Challinor assumed the role of the first-team manager for the club, departing a Hartlepool United side positioned tenth in League Two, a team he had recently propelled to promotion from the National League.

A former captain for County, Challinor had a playing stint with the club from 2002 to 2004 as a centre-half. He also enjoyed successful periods with Tranmere and Bury as a player. Transitioning into management, Challinor established a prosperous career in the lower divisions, boasting six previous promotions during his tenures at Colwyn Bay and AFC Fylde. Notably, he has consistently secured play-off positions in every full season of his management career.

Taking charge of a struggling Hatters side in the National League, sitting ninth after 13 games, Challinor orchestrated a remarkable turnaround that left an indelible mark on Stockport County Football Club.

In his managerial debut, County held League One side Bolton Wanderers to a 2-2 draw in the FA Cup First Round, followed by a memorable 5-3 victory in the replay. This marked the beginning of an extraordinary run, with County securing twenty wins and a draw in 21 games from December to March, propelling them to the top of the National League table.

The climax of the season at Edgeley Park saw promotion and a league title secured on the final day, making Dave Challinor the architect of the club's return to the Football League after an 11-year absence.

In his inaugural full season as an EFL boss, Challinor guided County to Wembley in the League Two Play-Off Final, narrowly missing a third successive promotion through a penalty shootout.

Having signed a new three-year deal in the Summer of 2023, Dave Challinor continued his historic tenure during the 2023/24 campaign, steering the team to a club record 13 straight wins in all competitions and matching the all-time fourth-tier record of 12 consecutive league victories.


One to watch: Isaac Olaofe

A forward who is having an exceptional season so far, former Millwall and Sutton United forward Olaofe has been Stockport’s main man in terms of goals so far this campaign.

17 goals and two assists in 33 games, shows the potent goal threat he has posed across many League Two sides this season, leaving Town's defenders looking to step up to the task and help Town come away with a positive result on Saturday.

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