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Jan 29, 2022 at 3pm UK at The Hive Stadium
0 - 5

Greenidge (4'), Taylor (19'), Turley (62')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Collar (45'), Johnson (54', 90+4'), Hogan (67'), Jennings (90')
Sarcevic (38')

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

:Headline: Preview: Barnet vs. Stockport County - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's National League clash between Barnet and Stockport County, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

National League leaders Stockport County will travel to Barnet on Saturday afternoon looking to maintain their position at the top of the fifth tier.

Having leapt to the top in midweek, Stockport have dreams of a return to the Football League, while Barnet remain in mid-table, well clear of the drop zone.

Match preview

Comfortable 3-0 winners over Maidenhead United in midweek, Stockport moved to the top of the National League for the first time this season, rubber-stamping the stellar job that boss Dave Challinor has achieved since arriving at Edgeley Park.

As low as 12th when the Chester-born coach swapped League Two Hartlepool United for County, Challinor has transformed Stockport's fortunes this season, going unbeaten in all but one of his 11 league matches in charge.

Having seemingly given up on hopes of promotion during the final days of ex-manager Simon Rusk's tenure, a return to the Football League for the first time since dropping out in 2011 is now in County's hands.

The bookies' favourites to win the title, Challinor has improved Stockport in almost every department so far, netting 31 goals during his 11 games in charge, compared to 11 in 12 matches under Rusk.

At the opposite end, defensive stability has also aided County's rise to the top, with the Hatters conceding an average of 0.7 goals under Challinor, compared to 1.25 under Rusk.

In the midst of an eight-game winning streak across all competitions, County will travel to Barnet looking to make it nine victories in a row.

With the signs looking ominous for the hosts, Barnet will no doubt take optimism from their 2-1 victory over County the previous time the pair met this season – triumphing at Edgeley Park in October, the defeat led to Rusk losing his job as Stockport manager.

As far as the Bees are concerned, this season has represented a huge step forward compared to last year, when Barnet finished bottom of the National League – due to the divisions below them being declared as null and void, the London-based club were reprieved of relegation to the National League South.

Having too sacked a manager already this season, Dean Brennan has enjoyed his time in the Barnet hotseat, losing just four league games since taking over in September.

A remarkable turnaround, given the Bees were hovering above the relegation zone when they parted company with former manager Harry Kewell, Barnet will now be eyeing up a league double against the division leaders.

Traditionally, this fixture has not been profitable for Barnet, whose only victory against Stockport in the last four years was that triumph at Edgeley Park in the reverse match.

County have won two of the last three meetings against Barnet, while during league games away to the Bees, Stockport are without a defeat since losing 2-1 in April 2004.

The pair were competing in League Two at the time, with Stockport hoping a fourth consecutive league win away to Barnet will help them with their hopes of a return to the fourth tier.

Barnet National League form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • L

Barnet form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • L

Stockport County National League form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Stockport County form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Team News

Adding to the success that Challinor has tasted since joining Stockport has been the fact he has only made one signing, instead utilising the resources already at the club.

Having named an unchanged side for the Maidenhead win, expect the midfield trio of Will Collar, Ryan Croasdale and Antoni Sarcevic to retain their positions.

Oliver Crankshaw could be in line for a return to the starting lineup, having been suffering with a niggle in recent weeks, whilst Scott Quigley is unlikely to return from injury in time to be considered.

For Barnet, they will be hoping that new signing Teddy Rowe is available for the visit of Stockport after the full-back joined from Blackpool earlier this month.

After a stint away from the squad with an injury, Daniel Powell is expected to be back in contention, whereas Adam Marriott and Mason Bloomfield are both doubts for the clash.

Barnet possible starting lineup:
Oxborough; Turley, Hall, Brundle, Powell, Mason-Clark; Greenidge, Fonguck, Taylor; Beard, Woods

Stockport County possible starting lineup:
Hinchliffe; Hogan, Palmer, Kitching; Southam-Hales, Collar, Croasdale, Rydel; Sarcevic; Madden, Jennings

We say: Barnet 1-3 Stockport County

Stockport are purring at the moment and look the side most likely to go on an extended winning streak, before lifting the title in May.

Barnet will not be the easiest of places for County to visit, but given their recent form, it is hard to look past the Hatters for all three points.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 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.Over 1.5:data

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