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[monks data]
Stockport County
League Two | 2nd Leg
May 20, 2023 at 12.30pm UK
Edgeley Park
Salford City
2 - 1
Salford City
Olaofe (68'), Stretton (115')
Horsfall (19'), Camps (29'), Olaofe (34'), Rydel (66'), Sarcevic (75'), Knoyle (85'), Hippolyte (90+5')
Mallan (112')
Touray (49'), Watt (103')
Stockport win 3-1 on penalties

Preview: Stockport County vs. Salford City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's League Two clash between Stockport County and Salford City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Stockport County will be hoping to book their place in the League Two playoff final when they take on Salford City at Edgeley Park on Saturday afternoon.

However, the Hatters will have to overcome a one-goal deficit from the first leg, having lost the semi-final at the Peninsula Stadium 1-0 last Saturday.

Match preview

Stockport County manager Dave Challinor pictured on August 23, 2022© Reuters

Stockport were not at the races in the first leg, failing to create any real clear-cut opportunities, with Matt Smith's first-half strike proving to be the difference between the two sides.

That said, the Hatters have more than enough quality to turn things around on Saturday, given just how impressive they were during the regular season, particularly at Edgeley Park, having gone unbeaten at home in the league since November.

Dave Challinor's side were only denied automatic promotion due to their slow start, having collected 58 points from their last 30 League Two games, six more than any other side, and they had a chance of going up on the final day.

However, Stockport were unable to beat already-relegated Hartlepool United at home, despite dominating the game, with opposition goalkeeper Ben Killip putting in a fantastic display, although Northampton Town's victory at Tranmere Rovers rendered the result meaningless anyway.

In the home match against Saturday's opponents during the regular season, the Hatters were held to a 1-1 draw, and they will face another very difficult task this weekend, given the visitors' fantastic away record.

Indeed, Salford have been exceptional on their travels in League Two this season, picking up 40 points on the road, the second-highest total of any side in the division, scoring a remarkable 44 goals in the process, nine more than any other side.

The Ammies are clearly capable of taking the game to their opponents on their travels, but given that they have a one-goal lead to conserve, it will be interesting to see whether manager Neil Wood adopts a different, more defensive approach on Saturday.

That seems unlikely, however, considering Wood's side have had so much success playing attacking football this season, winning their last three away matches 3-2, the most recent of which coming against Carlisle United, who are set to take on Bradford City in the other semi-final.

Salford have found their form at exactly the right time, winning five of their last seven games, but they will be aware just how difficult the task will be this weekend, in front of a sold out Edgeley Park crowd.

Stockport County League Two form:

Salford City League Two form:

Team News

Stockport County's Will Collar celebrates scoring their third goal and his hat-trick on December 7, 2022© Reuters

Stockport striker Kyle Wootton has missed the last five games with injury, and the 26-year-old's absence could be a real blow for the Hatters, given that he was their top scorer in the regular season.

As such, Jack Stretton is poised to lead the line again, although the Scot will need to find his shooting boots for such a crucial game, having failed to score in his last six matches.

Ryan Rydel is now back to full fitness, and Challinor could select the left midfielder instead of Myles Hippolyte, who failed to make his mark on the game in the first leg.

Wood did not make any changes to his Salford side until the 87th minute last Saturday, indicating he was very pleased with his side's performance, meaning he is likely to stick with the same starting lineup.

The Ammies are likely to employ a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Smith leading the line and Callum Hendry playing in an advanced midfield role, having scored nine goals in his last 15 games.

Stockport County possible starting lineup:
Hinchcliffe; Knoyle, Wright, Horsfall, Byrne, Hussey; Lemonheigh-Evans, Camps, Croasdale, Hippolyte; Stretton

Salford City possible starting lineup:
Cairns; Shephard, Vassell, Mariappa, Touray; Watt, Mallan, Bolton, Hendry, McAleny; Smith

SM words green background

We say: Stockport County 2-0 Salford City (Stockport win 2-1 on aggregate)

Although they lost the first leg, Stockport County have been in exceptional form, losing just two of their last 20 games, and we expect them to get the job done on Saturday.

The fans could play a huge part in helping the Hatters overturn the one-goal deficit, with tickets now completely sold out.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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Today's games header
Tables header RHS
1Stockport CountyStockport21134441212043
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9Swindon TownSwindon218674340330
10Accrington StanleyAccrington219393029130
11Crawley TownCrawley209383234-230
13MK Dons197663127427
14Bradford CityBradford207582427-326
15Newport CountyNewport2174103138-725
17Doncaster RoversDoncaster2073102531-624
18Harrogate TownHarrogate2073102027-724
19Grimsby Town215882933-423
20Salford City2064103033-322
21Tranmere RoversTranmere2163122934-521
22Colchester UnitedColchester2162132942-1320
23Forest Green RoversForest Green1943122035-1515
24Sutton UnitedSutton2035122640-1414

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