The Bees return to FA Cup action this weekend as they welcome National League North side Stockport County to The Hive London in Round Two on Sunday.
John Still’s men will be hoping to return to winning ways following Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat to Gateshead. Scott Boden tapped in The Heed’s opener on 20 minutes before Jack Taylor levelled proceedings just before the hour mark, smashing home via the woodwork. However, it was Steve Watson’s side that left with all three points after their top scorer Luke Armstrong found the bottom corner on 76 minutes.
It has been just over eight years since these two sides last met, the Bees falling to a 3-1 home defeat to The Hatters during the 2010-11 League Two campaign.
George Donnelly broke the deadlock on 51 minutes before Izale McLeod tapped in an equaliser three minutes later. However, a Greg Tansey brace, including a penalty, sealed maximum points for Stockport.
Manager: Jim Gannon
It’s safe to say, Jim Gannon can’t get enough of Stockport County having spent a decade with the club as a player before returning three times as manager.
During a playing career which started at Dundalk, the 50-year-old featured over 350 times for The Hatters. He clinched two League Trophy runner-up medals in 1992 and 1993 respectively and also achieved three promotions at the club, rising from Division Four to Division One.
Gannon hung up his boots at Shelbourne in 2004 and went on to manage Dundalk before returning to Stockport. Initially taking up the role as director of the club’s centre of excellent for girls, it wasn’t long before he found himself in the hot seat. Gannon was named manager on a caretaker basis before being awarded the full job whilst steering the club from League Two relegation. He guided the club to promotion through the play-offs in 2008 before leaving the club a year later.
Spells at Motherwell, Peterborough and Port Vale followed before he was named Stockport boss for a second time in 2011. He lasted just over a year before facing the chop in January 2013 with The Hatters in the League Two relegation zone.
He dropped down to take charge of Northern Premier League Division One North side Northwich Victoria before returning to Stockport yet again in 2016, a position he still holds today. He guided them to Cheshire Senior Cup glory before securing an eighth place finish in the National League North during his first season back in charge. Last season saw him go one better, helping his side clinch a play-off spot after finishing fifth but bowed out at the Qualifying Round.
The aim this time around is to continue their progression and begin their climb back up the divisions.
One to Watch: Matty Warburton
Striker Matty Warburton joined Stockport in 2017 and has gone on to be a vital asset to the side.
Last season saw the 26-year-old net 21 goals in 45 appearances as County ended the campaign in the play-off places.
This term, Warburton is currently Stockport’s leading scorer for the season, netting six league goals.
He’s also managed to replicate his league form in the Cup aswell, bagging three goals in the tournament already this season.
Last Season’s FA Cup Form:
The Hatters failed to get past the qualification stages last season having bowed out at the Third Qualifying Round stage. They began the campaign on a high, beating Curzon Ashton 1-0 courtesy of an Adam Thomas winner at Edgeley Park.
However, they faced their marching orders at the next hurdle in dramatic fashion. They hosted FC United of Manchester but despite taking a three-goal lead into half-time, the Red Rebels forced a replay. Their loss of concentration in the initial tie proved costly as Tom Greaves bagged the only goal three days later to book nine-man FC United’s place in the next round.
This Season’s FA Cup Run:
Stockport began this year’s FA Cup run away at South Shields in the Second Qualifying Round. Nyal Bell bagged a stoppage time winner as The Hatters won 2-1 to advance to the next stage.
A 3-0 home win over Corby Town meant they faced fellow National League North side Altrincham in the final qualifying stage, winning 2-0. They then came up against League Two side Yeovil Town and after coming from behind, they won 3-1 to reach Round 2 for the first time in nine years.
Sitting 11th in National League North with 24 points to their name, Stockport find themselves four points off the play-off places
The Hatters have clinched three wins in their last five games in all competitions. They began November with a 2-0 away win over Curzon Ashton before their FA Cup triumph over Yeovil followed a week later. It was back to league action and they endured a dip in form, drawing 1-1 at home to Brackley before losing 3-2 away at Blyth. However, they go into tomorrow’s game off the back of a comfortable 3-0 win at home to Chorley in the FA Trophy.
Last 5 games in all competitions: WWDLW