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31 January 2006

As expected City have completed the signing of Crewe Alexandra central defender Mark Roberts today, initially on a one month loan period. Roberts played in yesterday’s friendly against a Blackburn Rovers X1 that Chester lost 1-0.

The Blues have also signed two more players on loan both from Sheffield United, centre half Chris Robertson and left back Evan Horwood. Horwood (left) has this season been loaned out at Scunthorrpe United where he made 10+0 appearances and Conference side York City where he made 4+0.

Picture © Evening Leader

30 January 2006

Manager Keith Curle will today use a behind closed doors practice match against a Blackburn Rovers X1 to run the eye over some trialists before tomorrow’s transfer deadline.

Crewe Alexandra central defender Mark Roberts (left) is one player involved. He’s been training with City over the last week. As well as Roberts, Curle has made enquiries about centre half Mark Albrighton from Doncaster Rovers and Tom Kearney from Bradford City as he looks to build his squad for the remainder of the season.

Picture © Evening Leader

David Artell has been given a one match ban for his red card on Saturday. The central defender will now miss Saturday’s trip to Carlisle United. Tom Curtis has received a two match ban after picking up his tenth booking at Mansfield last week. He will also miss the Carlisle game as well as the home match with Stockport County a week later.
29 January 2006

Two second half penalties condemned City to their fifth straight home defeat leaving manager Keith Curle fuming with his defence. It was two months ago when the Blues tasted a home league success against Peterborough United and this latest defeat comes just days after City prevented an unwanted record of successive defeats.

Curle has vowed to attempt to introduce new faces to the squad but time is running out before Tuesday’s transfer window deadline. He said: “I’d like to say we were beaten by one piece of individual skill or a wonder goal but we weren’t, we lost because of basic errors and it’s happening too often.

There will be new faces at this football club in the next few days, we have made a substantial offer to Hull City for Kevin Ellison and we hope to get a positive reply. I’m not happy with our defence. Our central defenders are committing too many basic errors and that is not good enough. They are professional footballers and I expect better.

The positions I am looking to strengthen are a left back, a left sided midfield player and two central defenders. I have a few irons in the fire, and hopefully there will be positive results from my enquiries.”

City are next in action on Saturday when they face a tough away trip to second placed Carlisle United. The Cumbrians missed the chance to go top when they were surprisingly beaten 3-0 at Macclesfield Town this afternoon.

League Two table

Picture © Evening Leader
27 January 2006

Striker Michael Branch will sit out tomorrow’s home League Two game against Notts County with a one match suspension after picking up his fifth booking of the season last weekend at Bristol Rovers. Derek Asamoah who scored in Tuesday’s win at Mansfield Town is expected to play tomorrow after recovering from a bout of cramp at Field Mill.

The Blues will be looking to build on the midweek victory that lifted them three places to 14th in League Two tomorrow against a Notts County side sitting four places and four points above the Blues. The two sides last met in September when a Ben Davies goal brought a point from a 1-1 draw at Meadow Lane.

Picture © Evening Leader
The Chester Chronicle reports today that according to the Football League the date for the rearranged Chester v Wrexham derby has NOT yet been decided despite reports from the club that they were told to play the game on 7 March. It reports a spokesman for the Football League saying: “There is no date set for the match yet and there is no date set for a meeting yet. We are looking to arrange a meeting of all interested parties so that the issues involved can be thrashed out. At this stage we cannot comment further.”

It’s believed that the club wrote to the Football League suggesting Tuesday 25 April for the date which met with the approval of the local authorities but this was overruled.

25 January 2006

The Youth team lost 1-0 to Burnley this afternoon in the Youth Alliance Cup quarter final at Airbus UK. City fell behind to a goal on the stroke of half-time but fought back strongly after the break and could consider themselves unfortunate not to have got something from the tie.

Match report

Scott McNiven (left) and Derek Asamoah, against their former club, scored their first goals in City colours to bring a 2-1 victory in front of a delighted away following at Mansfield Town.

After a goalless first-half, the Blues fell behind through Danny Reet on 51 minutes but McNiven struck back three minutes later with an unstoppable 25-yarder to level. Fifteen minutes later Asamoah headed a looping winner following a free-kick from Ben Davies.

The home side were reduced to ten men following the dismissal of Richie Barker but pressed hard for an equaliser in the final minutes as City defended deeply. Chester had Stéphane Gillet to thank for a stunning last minute save to bring the first victory in ten games and make it a happy first return to Field Mill for Keith Curle.

City move up three places to 14th in League Two.

Picture © Evening Leader
Three more players, Sean Hessey, Abdou El Khoti and Craig Dove have been told they can leave the club. This follows on from the departure last week to Peterborough United of Phil Bolland.

Manager Keith Curle told the Evening Leader: “I’ve told Sean Hessey, Abdou El Khoti and Craig Dove that they are free to go. All three are available either for long term loans or contracts at other clubs. I’m trying to give the players a head start and offer them a chance to win a contract at another club. There will be a host of players out of contract at the end of the season, but this is a chance for all three to go now.”

Sean Hessey Abdou El Khoti Craig Dove
Pictures © Evening Leader

24 January 2006

City travel to Mansfield Town tonight hoping for at least a point to prevent an unwanted club record. Searching through the record books it doesn’t appear that Chester have before lost eight successive games in one season (it has occurred over two before)! Keith Curle’s men will be looking to continue on from the encouraging second-half showing at Bristol Rovers that saw them turn in one of their more encouring displays of late and fight back with ten men before eventually going down 2-1. The Field Mill links are numerous with Curle, David Artell, Tom Curtis, Luke Dimech, Scott McNiven, Derek Asamoah and Wayne Corden all on the books there at some stage of their careers.

Good news for City is that goalkeeper Stéphane Gillet has his his red card from Saturday rescinded and will play tonight. The Blues have signed Phil Barnes from Sheffield United as an emergency ‘keeper had the decision gone against them.

Mansfield lie one place and one point below City have picked up form recently and beat Rochdale 1-0 on Saturday. They also gave an excellent account of themselves recently in the FA Cup third round at Newcastle United where they lost by a single goal.
23 January 2006

Goalkeeper Stéphane Gillet has received a one match ban following his red card at Bristol Rovers on Saturday and will miss the League two trip to Mansfield Town tomorrow night as a result. Striker Michael Branch who has just returned to the side from injury has also picked up a one match ban after rceiving his fifth yellow card on the season at the Memorial Ground. He will be sidelined for Saturday’s home visit from Notts County.

Meanwhile the club have appealed against Gillet’s red card and will be advised before 12:00 tomorrow if they’ve been successful. Curle said: “We think a wrong decision was made about the sending off. I spoke to the referee, he said my player was denying a goal-scoring position. I don’t think it was a goalscoring position, because he had Luke Dimech on the other side of him, he was also going away from goal. It is disappointing when referees make such crucial decisions, and I’m sure the majority of the fair-minded people in the ground will agree it’s a harsh decision.”

It remains to be seen who will take Gillet’s place tomorrow night at Mansfield Town should the appeal be rejected. Curle has stated that he has permission to borrow a keeper from a Championship club, providing he gets Football League approval. Chris MacKenzie is still sidelined with a broken thumb. Ryan Brookfield played for the youth team on Saturday but has more hamstring trouble.

An equaliser direct from a free-kick by Nick Linford brought the youth team a 1-1 draw against Bury on Saturday. This was a home fixture though it couldn’t be played at Airbus UK. The team are next in action on Wednesday when they have a third round Youth Alliance Cup match at home to Burnley that kick’s-off at 12:00 at Airbus UK.

Match report | Youth fixtures | Youth stats
| Youth table
20 January 2006

The re-arranged home League Two game with Wrexham will take place on Tuesday 7 March with a 19:45hrs kick-off following a directive from the Football league. City chairman Steve Vaughan told the Daily Post: “We have passed a copy of the league’s letter to the local Ground Safety Advisory Group which includes members of the police force. As we are instructed to play by the league, we will play, even if it means staging the game behind closed doors, which would be a ridiculous state of affairs”.

The game was postponed on 28 December due to a frozed Deva pitch. The kick-off for that game was brought forward to 12:00 on the orders of the police and the Ground Safety Advisory Group to stop the potential of crowd trouble. What they make of this new evening start time remains to be seen. Tickets issued for the original date will be valid for the 7 March – providing the doors are open of course. Ironically the reserves also have a home game with Wrexham the following day.

The Blues welcome back Ryan Lowe at Bristol Rovers tomorrow following his four match ban. City will be looking for their first league points in seven games against a side currently in tenth place. Also available will be loan players Wayne Corden and Derek Asamoah who were both cup-tied for the midweek defeat by Cheltenham Town.
19 January 2006

Good luck to Central defender Phil Bolland who has been given a free transfer by the football club and joined Peterborough United until the end of the season. Bolland was signed by Mark Wright from Oxford United in March 2002 for �15,000, prior to signing he’d had a six game loan spell at Deva Stadium. Bolland was the longest serving player currently at the club having made 149+10 appearances, chipping in with 11 goals.

He’d previously played under Wright at at both Oxford and Southport. Bolland went on to form a solid defensive partnership alongside Scott Guyett, Carl Ruffer, Danny Collins and Wayne Hatswell during City’s Conference championship season in 2003/04. Only Ben Davies remains from that Championship side now.

Appearances have been limited this season to just 12+4 with one goal, at Rochdale. Bolland now joins Mark Wright for the fourth time having completed a move to League Two rivals Peterborough United. “I wanted to get away from Chester and Peterborough were the best club that came in for me,” Bolland told Peterborough’s website.

17 January 2006

There’s no money-spinning FA Cup fourth round tie for City who are beaten in tonight’s replay 1-0 by Cheltenham Town in front of over 5,000 at Deva Stadium. City had the greater possession in the first half but failed to take advantage of the half-chances they had.

The all-important goal came on 52 minutes as City’s defence failed to clear a corner allowing Kayode Odejayi to slot the ball home from 12 yards. Stéphane Gillet made two late saves to keep City in the game but they failed to really test Higgs in the visitors goal.

Manager Keith Curle said: “I thought we played particularly well in the first period, and dominated for long periods. When their goal went in we tried to get back into the game but credit to them they defended particularly well. Overall, our performance was a lot better than the disappointing show against Boston, and I know if we perform like that in the future, our luck will change.”

You can catch live internet commentary (UK only) on tonight’s game from BBC Radio Gloucestershire here.
It’s going to be a tense night at Deva Stadium tonight as City entertain Cheltenham Town in an FA Cup third round replay.

As well as a place in the fourth round, the financial rewards for victory are massive, with £200,000+ guaranteed through third round FA prize money, television rights from a live match in the fourth round on 28 January against Premiership side Newcastle United, plus subsequent TV highlight payments. There will be a big crowd packed in tonight as the Blues aim to reach that fourth round stage for the first time since 1986/87 when they eventually lost in a replay 3-1 at Sheffield Wednesday.

Replay’s at this stage of the competition don’t come round that often. The last time occurred 54 years ago when Chelsea visited Sealand Road and left with a 3-2 victory in front of the Chester’s record home attendance of 20,378. The two sides had earlier draw 2-2 at Stamford Bridge, Chester surrendering a two goal advantage on that occasion in London. The two third round ties were played before combined crowds of an amazing 63,332.

Blues fans will be hoping that the form book goes out of the window tonight. With six straight league defeats under their belts City need to produce the kind of battling performance that saw them grab this replay chance with two goals in the final ten minutes at Whaddon Road ten days ago. The Blues were 2-0 down then and looked to be heading out of the competition, before goals from Marcus Richardson and a dramatic late late effort from Stewart Drummond forced the replay.

City will be without loan signings Derek Asamoah and Wayne Corden tonight, both are cup-tied, while Ryan Lowe serves the last of his four match ban. Luke Dimech is available following suspension.

Cheltenham Town have a good away pedigree. They reached the third round stage with a 2-1 away replay win in the previous round at Oxford United and have lost only twice on their travels this season. Manager Keith Curle is expecting another close contest.

“Cheltenham are a workmanlike side, but the League game down there on Boxing Day and the first match in the FA Cup have been close affairs and now it's their turn to travel and that should be to our advantage.”

Tonight’s game will be refereed by Andy Hall (West Midlands) and will be played to a conclusion with extra-time and penalties needed if necessary.
14 January 2006

City suffered their sixth straight league defeat today as Boston United ran out 1-0 winners at Deva Stadium. The only goal of the game came eight minutes from time through Simon Rusk as the Blues failed to score for the fourth league match on the run.

The defeat leaves City in 17th position, though with the division being tight they are still only six points from a play-off place with a couple of games in hand on some sides above them.

Manager Keith Curle gave home debuts to Derek Asamoah, Wayne Corden and Stéphane Gillet, and opted to leave Gregg Blundell and Ben Davies on the bench until the second half. It was Asamoah who had the best opportunity to score though he couldn’t quite control his chance after a fine through ball to him in the dying minutes.

Curle will have the players in at 09:00 tomorrow morning for training and they’ll be having a 9-5 working day until things improve. He said: “There is a fear factor in football where players go out scared of making a mistake or making the wrong decision. The only way you can get them out of that feeling is to make them start work at 9am and finish at 5pm. The only fear factor a footballer should have is when he’s going to go for a job when his career is over. So they’re going to get a taste of that regime and that will continue until we win a football match. If players go out scared they shouldn’t be going out on the football pitch at all.”

League Two table

Goals from Chris Holroyd and James Vaughan helped the youth team to a 2-2 home draw against Port Vale this morning.

Youth fixtures | Youth stats
| Youth table
13 January 2006

City entertain Boston United at Deva Stadium tomorrow, kick-off 15:00hrs. Chester will be hoping to arrest a slide of five straight league defeats that has seen them slip into to the bottom half of the table. The last victory came with a battling disply at Leyton Orient on 6 December. The Pilgrims currently lie in 14th place, one below City on goal difference, but have won only once on their League Two travels this season - 2-1 at Notts County.

The Blues will be without two players through suspension, Ryan Lowe serves the third of a four match ban, while Luke Dimech (left) is out for a one game suspension after picking up five bookings. Phil Bolland should be recalled to replace Dimech and new loan signings Derek Asamoah and Wayne Corden are both expected to be in the Blues squad.

Priority Vouchers will be issued to all home fans (except Season Ticket Holders) who attend tomorrow which can be used to be redeemed for a Match Ticket for a possible FA Cup Fourth Round Tie against Newcastle United. Subject to conditions and availability.

The youth team are in action tomorrow morning with a home Youth Alliance league game against Port Vale.

Picture © Evening Leader
12 January 2006

Two players have joined City on loan and go into Saturday’s squad to face Boston United. They are Lincoln City striker Derek Asamoah and Scunthorpe United midfield player Wayne Corden.

Ghanian-born Asamoah began his career at Hampton & Richmond Borough befoe moving to Northampton Town in the summer of 2001. He played 38+94 games for the Cobblers, scoring 13 goals. Three years later he left and joined Mansfield Town where he played 25+7 times, scoring on 5 occasions under manager Keith Curle. Asamoah moved to Lincoln City last March playing 32+11 matches for the Imps, scoring twice. Asamoah has signed until the end of the season.

Corden, born in Leek, began his career in 1994 as a trainee at Port Vale where he progressed to the senior team and made 35+36 appearances, scoring twuce. He moved to Mansfield Town in 2000 and went on to make 198+36 appearances scoring 38 goals before a free transfer to Scunthorpe United in February 2005. He’s so far played 13+11 times for the Iron.

Adriano Rigoglioso, who played for the reserves yesterday won’t be coming to City. Curle told the Evening Leader: “Adriano has trained with us, worked hard and played in our reserve team match yesterday, but at the moment I am not prepared to bring him to Chester.”
11 January 2006

The FA Cup fourth round match match between Chester City or Cheltenham Town v Newcastle United will be screened live at 12:30 on Saturday 28 January by the BBC1. Each club will receive a £150,000 fee. Next weeks replay also carries £40,000 in prize money.
The reserves drew 2-2 with Preston North End at Deva Stadium this afternoon, the goals were scored by the chairman’s sons James and Stephen Vaughan. James has recently been released by Tranmere Rovers. Doncaster Rovers player Adriano Rigoglioso who has been training with City last week had been given permission to play and manager Keith Curle will be taking a look at the former Morecambe midfielder in match conditions.

Curle told the Evening Leader: “Adriano has done okay in training and I’ve managed to sit down and talk to the player as well as to Doncaster boss Dave Penney. Adriano is an unorthodox player who can play in a number of different positions and that’s sometimes of benefit. Now I’m keen to take a look at him and see if he can give us enough because I can’t afford to have any luxury players.”

There may be more news on the transfer front in the next 24 hours with Chester expected to tie-up a deal to take Scunthorpe United midfielder Wayne Corden on a one month loan.
10 January 2006

After consultation with other Board members and The Chairman, Chester City Football Club have decided to issue Priority Vouchers at the following two home games. The Priority Vouchers can be used to be redeemed for a Match Ticket for a possible FA Cup Fourth Round Tie against Newcastle United. Subject to conditions and availability.

Boston United, Saturday 14th January 2006
Cheltenham Town (FA Cup 3rd Round replay), Tuesday 17th January 2006

Priority Vouchers will be issued to all home fans (except Season Ticket Holders) who attend the Football League match against Boston United.

Priority Vouchers will be issued to all home fans (including Season Ticket Holders) who attend the FA Cup 3rd Round Replay against Cheltenham Town.

In the event of Chester City FC progressing beyond the 3rd Round of the FA Cup, Ticket sales for the 4th Round of the FA Cup will be sold subject to availability and conditions in the following order.

Day One. Season Ticket Holders with the Priority Voucher issued against Cheltenham Town. Season Ticket Holders also need to produce Voucher D.

Day Two. Season Ticket Holders without the Priority Voucher and Priority Voucher holders who have collected both vouchers from the Boston and Cheltenham Matches. Season Ticket Holders also need to produce Voucher D.

Day Three. Priority Voucher holders who have just one voucher from either the Boston or Cheltenham Match.

Day Four. General Sale.





Paul Baker (Director)
9 January 2006

If City defeat Cheltenham Town in next weeks FA Cup third round replay they will play Premiership side Newcastle United at Deva Stadium in round four with the match taking place over the weekend of 28/29 January.

City have played Newcastle twice before in the competition losing at the third round stage 3-1 at Sealand Road in 1965/66 in front of 18,251 fans, Elfed Morris scoring for the Blues. The last occasion was back in the third round of 1979/80 when goals from Peter Henderson and Ian Rush gave Chester a shock 2-0 win in front of 24,548 at St James’ Park – as the Blues progressed through to the fifth round that season.

The most famous meeting was back in the quarter final of the League Cup in 1974/75 when Chester drew 0-0 at Newcastle before John ‘Jesse’ James netted the only goal of the game at Sealand Road in the replay in front of a capacity 19,000 crowd.

It’s being reported that Scunthorpe United midfielder Wayne Corden is to join Chester City on a one month loan. Corden joined The Iron from Mansfield Town and has made 13+11 appearances for the side this season.
8 January 2006

A dramatic goal four minutes into added time by Stewart Drummond (left) secured a 2-2 draw at Cheltenham Town on Saturday after the Blues looked down and out. Two penalties, the first one of dubious origin, had given the home side second half lead but City fought back magnificently and Marcus Richardson’s header reduced the arrears with ten minutes remaining before Drummond swept Carl Regan’s cross home from close range in front of 800 jubilant fans.

Stéphane Gillet made an impressive debut in goal for City and could do nothing about the two penalties, indeed he made a great double save leading up to the first one.

Manager Keith Curle praised his players for their fightback, he said: “It was one of those 2-0 down situations, two penalties, playing uphill agaist the wind and you think: ‘Do you fancy yourself?’ and the pleasing thing for me is we found an extra yard. That was the message to the players afterwards. That’s how we have to start games. Talking to their assistant manager on the way out at half-time, we said the game was going to be turned by either a piece of brillaince, a mistake of a decision by the referee. The first penalty I’ve got to see again – it looked soft. The second one was hand ball and you can’t do anything about that. At 2-0 down it’s one of those roll your sleeves up situations.”

The replay will take place at Deva Stadium at 19:45 on Tuesday 17 January. As a result this will priove to be the fourth game in Ryan Lowe’s suspension, allowing him to now play at Bristol Rovers the following Saturday.

The draw for the fourth round takes place at the FA headquarters at 13:30hrs on Monday live on BBC2. The Chester/Cheltenham ball is number 23.

Notts County took full advantage of the Blues being in cup action yesterday, their 3-2 win over Darlington lifted them above Chester who drop to 13th in League Two.

League Two table

Picture © Evening Leader
City’s youth team lost 4-3 at Tranmere Rovers on Saturday morning. The Blues were 4-0 down at one stage but fought back with goals from Neil Carroll, Adam Wade and Chris Holroyd.

Youth fixtures | Youth stats
| Youth table
6 January 2006

The Blues travel to Cheltenham Town tomorrow for the third round of the FA Cup. The winners of the tie will pick up a handy £40,000 in prize money as well as a place in the last 32 for Monday’s fourth round draw.

Chester will be looking for a good performance to get their season back on track after a run of five successive defeats. City will be up against one of the division’s form teams with the Robin’s suffering just one defeat in their last 15 matches. They progressed to the third round strange with a 1-0 win over Carlisle United and a 2-1 win at Oxford following a 1-1 home draw. This will be the first meeting between the sides outside of the League and will be refereed by Darren Drysdale from Lincolnshire.

The sides last met at Whaddon Road on Boxing Day when a single Brian Wilson goal just after half-time was enough to give the home side victory.

Ryan Lowe misses the game through suspension and there are doubts as to who will play in goal for City. On-loan ‘keeper John Ruddy has been refused permission to play by Everton who don’t want the young shot-stopper cup-tied. The club have today received international clearance so 28-year-old Luxembourg international ‘keeper Stéphane Gillet can now make his Chester debut. Gillet, an ex-member of Paris St Germain’s squad, has been training with City this week and has been signed until the end of the season. He last played for FC Racing Union Luxembourg.

Cheltenham will be without Shane Duff (ankle) and Steve Gillespie (hamstring) through injury.

Cheltenham have pre-sold over 2,000 discounted tickets for the game (which is NOT all-ticket), and with their new Carlsberg Stand, where City fans will be located, preventing sunlight from reaching the pitch, frost covers have been hired in as an extra precaution for tonight and tomorrow morning.

Should there be a replay it will take place at Deva Stadium at 19:45 on Tuesday 17 January.
City’s youth team have a Youth Alliance derby match against Tranmere Rovers tomorrow morning. The game will take place at Rovers’ Raby Vale training ground with an 11:00 kick-off.
Both vice chairman Darren Liversage and chief executive Darren Shelton have resigned from the club at a board meeting on Wednesday. There are no plans to replace the duo at the moment.
5 January 2006

Former Chester defender Tommy Singleton sadly passed away at the end of December 2005 at the age of 65. Tommy has the distinction of being the first ever Chester substitute when he came on for his debut against Stockport County in the opening game of the 1965/66 season.

Tommy Singleton Obituary
3 January 2006

With the transfer deadline opened for January City have taken two players on trial this week. They are Doncaster Rovers midfielder Adriano Rigoglioso and Luxembourg goalkeeper Stéphane Gillet.

Rigoglioso has previously been a target for former manager Mark Wright and is currently on loan at Southport from Doncaster Rovers where he’s played one game. He began his career as a trainee at Liverpool before moving to Marine and then Morecambe where he made 95+34 appearances, scoring 20 goals for the Shrimps between 2000-03. He moved to Doncaster Rovers in November 2003 and has since played 8+25 matches for the Belle Vue club scoring one goal.

Gillet is a Luxembourg international goalkeeper and could well play at Cheltenham Town on Saturday should Everton not want John Ruddy to be cup-tied. He last played for Royal Luxembourg.

City have also made a reported £50,000 offer to Macclesfield Town for striker John Parkin. Manager Keith Curle confirmed to the Evening Leader: “We have put in an official bid for Macclesfield striker Jon Parkin. I spoke to Macclesfield boss Brian Horton after our match at Moss Rose on Saturday and again on Sunday out of courtesy to inform him them we would be faxing a bid to Macclesfield for Parkin. We have done everything right as far as an approach is concerned and now we are waiting for an answer.”

Peterborough United’s experienced central defender Sagi Burton is also on Curle’s shopping list, however a deal involving a swap with Phil Bolland has fallen through with Bolland indication that he didn’t want to move. Lincoln striker Derek Asamoah is also believed to be a target, Asamoah has played under Curle before at Mansfield Town in 2004.
2 January 2006

Chester lost 1-0 this afternoon at home to Oxford United. Steve Basham scored the only goal of the game on 74 minutes turning the ball home after ‘keeper John Ruddy had made a fine save to deny Adam Griffin.


Ryan Lowe has been suspended for four matches following his red card at Macclesfield Town on Saturday. That’s three matches for the offence at Moss Rose and a further match as it is his second red of the season having been dismissed at Rushden & Diamonds.

He will miss the games against Oxford United (H), Cheltenham Town (A), Boston United (H) and Bristol Rovers (A)*.

*Note: With City forcing a cup replay against Cheltehham Town this will prove to be the fourth game in the ban now leaving Lowe free to play at Bristol Rovers.

Picture © Evening Leader

City entertain Oxford United at Deva Stadium this afternoon looking to end a run of four successive League Two defeats that has seen them slip just out of the play-off zone as 2006 gets underway. Ryan Lowe, sent-off at Macclesfield on Saturday, will miss the game through suspension, though this is not confirmed yet on the FA website.

John Ruddy is expected to carry on in goal but it remains to be seen if there is a place for Gregg Blundell who pulled up with what looked like a knee strain at Moss Rose. Meanwhile striker Michael Branch, who returned to training recently, has an outside chance of making the squad.

Reflecting on Saturday’s 1-0 reverse at Macclesfield, City manager Keith Curle said: “We did everything bar score in the first half and, when you come to a club like Macclesfield and fail to capitalise, you are always likely to suffer something like an unlucky deflection. I have always found that the harder you work the luckier you get and we will be in at 9.30 tomorrow morning.”

















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