Gloves are off in Magpies keeper battle

Chorley ace Mark Ross
Chorley ace Mark Ross
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Chorley’s Mark Ross praised goalkeeper Aaron Grundy for capitalising on Sam Ashton’s injury and impressing between the sticks.

Magpies No.1 Ashton is back in contention and was on the bench for last Saturday’s 3-2 comeback victory over Hyde.

Now Chorley boss Garry Flitcroft has a selection dilemma ahead of tomorrow’s FA Trophy third-qualifying round clash against Stalybridge Celtic due to Grundy’s sizzling form. And Ross hailed the shot-stopper, who returned to Chorley in 2013, for biding his time and seizing his opportunity.

He said: “Aaron has been waiting to get his chance and whenever he has played he has been really wanting to impress.

“He made a great save on Saturday but we had a little bit of a joke about it because, if it wasn’t for me messing up, 
then he wouldn’t have had to make it.

“Aaron makes a great save every time he plays but it isn’t just that – it is his all-round game.”

Chorley beat Celtic 2-0 in the Conference North back in August. And after conceding two early goals to rock-bottom Hyde last weekend, Ross is keen to make a better start against Stalybridge.

The 25-year-old said: “Hyde are our bogey team. But I don’t know how they only have seven points – they were one of the best teams we have faced this season.

“We played Stalybridge and beat them earlier in the season so we know we can beat them. We just need to step the game up from the start.”

Ross has slotted into the centre of defence in recent weeks after captain Andy Teague was injured against Boston United at Victory Park earlier this month.

Although Teague is close to a return, Ross is set to continu tomorrow as stopper Tom Smyth is also crocked.

Ross said: “Both central defenders, Tom and Teaguey, are out and so I’ve stepped in at centre-back. Before that I was playing right-back.

“I’ve played there for the last four matches and we haven’t lost, so hopefully I can carry on my unbeaten record tomorrow.”

And Ross is pleased to be on the same side as striker Chris Simm, who scored his first goal since returning to the fold in Saturday’s 3-2 win.

He said: “I’ve played against him before and he is awkward to play against – I’m glad he is on our side.”